Scottish Women & Girls in Sport Week 2023 - Gail Notman
Our third and final profile during Scottish Women and Girls in Sport Week 2023 features Gail Notman from Stonehouse Bowling Club in South Lanarkshire.
Gail’s bowling career began 40 years ago when she took part in an open mixed pairs competition with her husband, Tom. Having never bowled or received any coaching previously, Gail was well and truly flung in at the deep end but enjoyed her first taste of the sport which she has been hooked to ever since.
Throughout her career, Gail has represented Scotland on a number of occasions. Her two sons, Blane and Reece, are both talented bowlers in their own right and this year elder son Reece made his full international debut for Scotland alongside Gail at the National Centre for Bowling, Ayr. A unique achievement in sport that made for one very memorable weekend for the whole family.
One of Gail’s finest achievements came this year when she skipped the triple of Emma Kennedy and Susan Morrison to the Ladies Scottish Triples title in July. The Stonehouse trio were in outstanding form all week and rather impressively no team came closer to within 8-shots of them during their five matches at the 2023 Bowls Scotland National Championships.
Despite all her playing achievements, Gail is always keen to do her bit and give something back to the sport she loves. She currently volunteers as Ladies District Co-Ordinator for District 19, ensuring the smooth running of the Stage 1 National Championships qualifiers in the local area. From assigning venues to all of the behind-the-scenes admin work it’s an extremely busy and rewarding time of year for Gail as she also tries to focus on her own game.
We caught up with Gail to learn more about her bowls journey and how she balances a successful playing career with her volunteering roles. Read the full Q&A below.
Q1. When & how did your bowls journey begin?
GN: “My first game of bowls was when my husband, Tom, took me to an open mixed pairs tournament. I had never played bowls before and he had to show me how to set the mat and throw the jack. We ended up getting beaten in the final having played right through the weekend. That was nearly 40 years ago, and I have played on and off ever since.”
Q2. What’s your favourite thing about bowls?
GN: “I think the fact that bowls can be played by people of all ages. There are not many sports where families and friends are able to participate and compete in the same competitions.”
Q3. You were recently selected to represent Scotland at the 2023 British Isles Internationals, this must have been a proud moment for the whole family to do so alongside your son, Reece?
GN: “Yes, it is an honour to represent your country at any time but to do so alongside your family makes it even more special and memorable. As I mentioned previously, this wouldn't happen in many other sports!”
Q4. Now you’ve had time to reflect, how did it feel to win the Ladies National Triples this year alongside Emma Kennedy and Susan Morrison?
GN: “After we won the triples, it took a while for it to sink in, even after all the celebrations. However, now that it has, I feel so proud to have won it with two friends from my own club, Stonehouse BC, and I can't wait for us to represent Scotland in the British Isles Championships next year.”
Q5. Tell us more about your role as Ladies District Co-Ordinator for District 19 – what do you enjoy most about the role and why would you encourage other women to volunteer in bowls?
GN: “The role isn't without its challenges, especially in relation to the weather. However, you get to visit many clubs and meet so many people. It doesn't matter where you go, you will always bump into someone you know from playing bowls.”
Q6. What would you say to encourage other women & girls that may be interested in trying bowls?
GN: “Please come along and try the sport. You'll not realise how enjoyable it is until you try!”
A huge thanks to Gail for sharing her journey with us! Over 16,000 women and girls currently participate in bowls throughout Scotland, if you are keen to get involved find your nearest club here: https://www.bowlsscotland.com/club-finder