2022 National Championships - Stage 1 Stars: Danny Porter
As part of our build up to the 2022 Bowls Scotland National Championships we spoke to High Performance player, Danny Porter of Gala Bowling Club, who will compete in the B7/8 singles and pairs at this years event. A finalist in previous years of the National Championships, Danny is looking to go one better in his 2022 campaign.
Q: When did you start playing bowls?
A: I learnt to play bowls in the early 2000s through Scottish Borders Disability Sport indoor and outdoor, after school and during the summer holidays. Unfortunately didn’t keep it up during high school and picked it up again in 2011 when I returned from Inverness and joined my friends in the local pub league and the rest is history as they say!
I’ve been at Gala Bowling Club for the last 8yrs now and was Club President at the age of 26 in 2018 (think youngest in over 160 years Club History!) and been at Teviotdale IBC for 2yrs either side of the pandemic, reaching Club Championship Final in first year, I had the chance of representing them in the Scottish Indoor Nationals and now becoming the Vice President for the upcoming season.
Q: What’s the best thing about playing bowls?
A: I love sport in general and being part of a team, being disabled it hampers it a little to be involved however bowls is a fantastic inclusive sport that people can play for many years either just for fun or competitively. It is a great social sport and being part of Gala Bowling Club and more recently Teviotdale Indoor Bowling Club it is like a second family and great friends to have and feel welcomed and honoured to be a part of both.
Q: You’re part of the Team Scotland Achieve Programme for Birmingham 2022, tell us more about this? How do you think this experience will help shape/inspire your bowling career?
A: It is a privilege and honour to have been nominated by Bowls Scotland to be a part of Team Scotland in the Achieve Programme for Birmingham 2022. I got a missed call from Adam Martin and was worried as we were preparing to go to Solihull for Para Indoor Home Nations and thought it was to say it has been cancelled due to Covid so it was relief and shock when I found out it was the Achieve Programme!
I’ve been in and around the Para High Performance Squad since 2017 and although it would’ve been great to compete in Birmingham 2022, it is good to be acknowledged for my hard work since my debut in 2019 in Cardiff at Para Outdoor Home Nations. From then, I joined Teviotdale IBC one of my best bowling career decisions to look for game time and keep pushing and improving myself.
After the pandemic it seems I’m playing even more than expected and last winter travelled down to England on numerous occasions to play in the Open Singles Circuit against some top players along with playing in some World Bowls Tour Events.
That dedication seems to be coming off on the green and being nominated/selected for the Achieve Programme is a nice reward which great and really looking forward to going down and being part of Team Scotland. I’ve not had the honour to represent at a World Championships or Commonwealth Games so to be picked as someone to be regarded for potential future games and get a glimpse and experience what it is all about and help me prepare for what may lie ahead in my bowling career is something I couldn’t turn down and will only be invaluable experience. I went to Team Scotland camp at Celtic Park last week with fellow athletes and coaches and it made it all feel real, just an honour to be a part of it.
Q: You were runner up to Garry Brown in 2018 at the National Championships, what did you learn from that experience that you will bring back to Northfield in 2022?
A: Thanks for the reminder(!!!) I’ve not looked at my silver medal in a while!! I believe it was 2018 and in my Presidency year at Gala Bowling Club. The weather was terrible, and Final was delayed for few hours and presentations need to be in the hospitality tent. It was only my second time competing at Northfield, I was able to win my first match in 2017 but got beat in the Semis, I was able to do one better following year however fell at final hurdle. I’ve learnt a considerable amount even just at training sessions over the years and the progression I feel is there to see. I feel stronger and more confident and I’m looking forward to the National Championships in the Para Singles and Para Pairs with Michael Simpson this year. I was in awe of the place first time around, it was the first time I’d played in a crowd of that size, but I’ve not looked back since and now thrive with it. I was 12-0 up in the Final but lost 21-18 to Garry Brown but any game now I just persevere even when things not going my way and able to go the distance giving me the best opportunity, I’m less distracted and keep focus on the task at hand. The difference pre pandemic to now is significant and I’m really enjoying my bowls and looking forward to playing at Northfield again.
Bowls Scotland look forward to seeing Danny compete at Ayr this month and wish him, Beth Riva and Aaron Betts all the best as they travel to Birmingham 2022 with Team Scotland’s Achieve Programme.