My Journey through Bowls
With less than a week to go before the gents squad head off to Belmont Bowling Club in Belfast to participate in the BIBC competition we caught up with returning BIBC player Chris McGready and New Cap Paul Kane Junior to find out more about their journey into the world of bowls.
So Chris, when and how did your journey into the world of bowls begin?
I first took up bowling when I was 19 at a club called Pitlochry in rural Perthshire. I was invited along by a friend to a social night involving darts, dominoes and bowls. Let’s just say bowls was obviously my hidden talent.
How does it feel to be representing Scotland again in the BIBC competition?
I have always believed that in any sport there is no greater honour than being given the opportunity to represent your country and I have been fortunate enough to gain another cap this year. Scotland has such strength and depth as a bowling nation so I really do feel privileged and focussed as everyone will be watching and expecting a successful series.
What would your advice be to the new caps in the squad this year?
Given that my international journey is at the very early stages. My best advice would be to enjoy yourself. The team is full of a great bunch of lads, don’t be scared to ask for advice, pick up tips and most of all cheer on a good bowl. Nothing beats getting at the auld enemy!
As an experienced bowler yourself, why would you encourage people to get involved and try bowls as a sport?
Bowls really is an inclusive sport. I have had kids as young as 4 and pensioners as old as 99 playing it. How many sports can say the same? It’s a sport that also can be played by those who are physically disabled or visually impaired so if you know someone who might be interested get in touch!
Paul, when did your journey into the world of bowls begin?
I spent many nights of my childhood at the bowling club watching my dad and my grandpa playing bowls, and I couldn't wait to start playing. I got my first set of bowls and first pair of bowling shoes for my ninth birthday and I've been hooked ever since.
How did you feel when you found out you would be representing Scotland as a New Cap this year?
I still don't think I've come back down to earth to be honest! I was delighted to receive a trial after submitting my application, and I thought I had given a good account of myself but the strength of the trial pool was absolutely phenomenal. When I found out I had been selected I was over the moon, all the years of hard work have paid off and to get the chance to represent the best bowling nation in the world, alongside some of the biggest names in bowls is the stuff that dreams are made of.
How have you been practicing in the lead up to the competition in Belfast?
This is an extremely busy time of the season, with Scottish Championships, County and club ties as well as Andrew Hamilton Trophy games and Under 25 league games at weekends, so I've had plenty competitive practice recently. Last year I gained a place in the Regional Academy West Section, and alongside Richard Glassford (West Region Coach) I have been assessing my personal strengths and weaknesses, so I've been working on my weaknesses and cementing my strengths. I've also made an effort to repeat the position specific drills that were used at the trials this year when I've had a practice partner available, as I found that these drills require absolute concentration to achieve good results.
As a young bowler yourself, why would you encourage other young people to get involved and try bowls as a sport?
There's no other sport quite like it! There really is something for everyone with singles play, lots of team games with lots of different and interesting formats and you can be as competitive or as recreational as you like. It's the only sport I know of where you can compete with anyone regardless of age, gender or disability. You'll make friendships that will last a lifetime.
We wish all players taking part in the BIBC competition the very best of luck.