Try Bowls Club 2022 Review: Marchmount BC

At the beginning of the 2022 season we visited Marchmount BC in Dumfries where 7 club members completed Bowls Scotland’s Intro to Bowls Coaching Award to assist with holding open events and running coaching sessions through the season. The club had plans in place for two Try Bowls events and had been promoting themselves within the local community using posters, leaflets and social media - catch up on this story here.

With the end of the outdoor season here, we got back in touch with Alan Glendinning at the club who gave us a recap of the successes of the season for this proactive Try Bowls Club.

After a challenging couple of years Marchmount were determined to start the 2022 outdoor bowling on a positive note to promote the sport and the club, with the aim of recruiting new members.

We started the planning at the end of the 2021 with a small working group formed and early contact with our Bowls Scotland National Development Officer, Lawra Cox, to make sure we were going to be ready to hit the ground running at the start of the season.  We identified 7 members who were keen and enthusiastic and willing to undertake the Introduction to Bowls Coaching course and as things developed, we actually ended up hosting this course.  We entered an arrangement with the Youth Work section of Dumfries and Galloway Council to endeavour to recruit some younger members and one of their staff was also training for the course.

We arranged 2 Try Bowls Days and to manage the numbers we split each day into two slots each of 2 hours, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. 

Publicity through social media platforms, local newspapers and good old-fashioned posters and fliers posted through 2500 doors across Dumfries and then wait and see what response we got.  Day 1 was a good day. Plenty of people through the gate and plenty of interest and enthusiasm on the green.  A learning experience for those involved in the planning and supported by Lawra we were all feeling a lot more confident for day 2.  Another good day.  Numbers were down on attendance however on the upside we had 100% sign up rate that day.  Everyone that Tried Bowls, joined the club.

End result we recruited almost 40 new members as a result of the Try Bowls days.  A huge success and far more than we had anticipated.  While very positive, this did bring with it some challenges of supporting these members in the early stages.  As the season progressed, we recruited a few more members.

It would be fair to say we tried to maximise the publicity of and from these events and got great exposure through Dumfries and Galloway What’s Going On and Bowls Scotland as well as through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Marchmount have featured throughout Scotland with photos from the club featuring on many Bowls Scotland publicity and in the programme for this year’s National Championships!

At club level it was good to see so many of our members back on the green after the challenges of the Covid pandemic.  Weekly sweeps were very well attended and provided an opportunity for some of our new members to get acquainted with existing members.

At District and National level, the club performed well, with our fours team winning the Dumfriesshire League and then the District 31 playoff against Creetown our District neighbour from the Stewartry. Our Top 5 team retained their title (the first club to do this in our area), and also represented Dumfriesshire in this year’s National Top 5 losing out to Gordon from Scottish Border 3-2. Marchmount Ladies played Dalbeattie in the first game of a historic evening league for teams from Dumfriesshire and Stewartry, a positive step in making sure these competitive games are more accessible for women.

In the Bowls Scotland District playoffs, our over 55 gents fours team reached the National Championships at Northfield and made it to the semi-finals. Club members represented the county in the Hamilton Trophy team and one of our members was in the South of Scotland Ladies team who won the Ladies Inter County Championship. Zoe Kirk and Martyn Rice were crowned club champions, both retaining the titles from 2021.

The club ran a number of open tournaments during the season, the Aussie Pairs and Top 3 competition which were built on from the 2021 season, attracted entries from outwith the area and were well supported, creating something a little different and received very positive comments from those participating and it was great to see the lots of people back in the club enjoying the bowls.

One of the most pleasing aspects of the season was to see some of the new members getting fully engaged and involved in the club and its competitions and doing very well, against long established players. Pete Bryden, a new member for 2022, won the club drawn pairs with partner Gordon Haining – great to see newcomers collecting some silverware in the end of season presentations.

Our outdoor season came to an end on 24 September, with our annual Fish Supper Day and Ladies v Gents competition.  Fancy dress has been an integral part of this event for many years and 2022 didn’t disappoint with a significant number of members turning up to play in fancy dress.

Club President Paul Fraser commented “This has been a great season for Marchmount Bowling Club and simply wouldn’t happen if it wasn’t for the commitment and efforts from those involved our recruitment drive, the efforts of those involved in our teams and the support from our members.  The challenge now is to keep the momentum going and to continue to buck the trend of decreasing membership and show this genuinely is a sport for all.”

Thanks to Alan, the wider coaching team and committee at Marchmount for all their hard work promoting the sport of bowls, and for opening their doors and introducing their wider community to the sport this season. As Marchmount have shown, planning ahead for a successful recruitment drive is critical; information on Try Bowls and how to contact your National Development Officer can be found here. Clubs can register as a Try Bowls Club year-round to access planning and promotional tools as well as support from Bowls Scotland and recognition on our club finder map.

If you would like to share news or good practice from your bowling club please get in touch with our Marketing Officer, Ash via for a chance to feature.

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