Bowls England organise a programme of celebration matches as recognition and as a reward for the brilliant work that affiliated clubs are doing; the matches can acknowledge significant milestones or achievements at a clubs.

Celebration matches are played by 24 players from the club and a team of 24 player representing Bowls England. They are traditionally been held between April – September on Tues, Wed and Thurs afternoons. Any affiliated club can apply to host a Celebration Match.

What should a Celebration Match look and feel like at a club?
  • Fun, enjoyable, different day for all involved
  • Special occasion – the club should go ‘all out’, it should not just be a normal game. The match should be the highlight of the clubs year. This could include opening the bar, putting on food and drink for spectators, raffles, activities for young relations of the players, marquees, bunting, music, bbq, balloons etc, anything to create a festival or party atmosphere.
  • Involvement with the local community – this could include inviting local press, friends and family of those playing, the local mayor / town crier, the council, club sponsors etc
  • Supported and watched by club members / family and friends who are not playing in the match
What can a club gain from hosting a Celebration Match?
  • Support from Bowls England
  • The opportunity to grow club membership
  • An enjoyable, social day
  • The opportunity to play against and meet players from across the country
  • The opportunity to have a visit from an England / high performance / junior performance player (this is not guaranteed for every match)
  • Recognition for the club and an opportunity to celebrate the club and its hard working members
  • The opportunity to engage with the local media and community and thus the opportunity to grow local awareness of the club
  • A memento of the day to display in their clubhouse.
  • A benefit of being an affiliated club.
How do we decide which clubs are awarded a Celebration Match?

We are oversubscribed with clubs asking to host celebration matches, which is great as it shows the brilliant work that is being done by clubs across the country. However, it is not feasible for every club applying to be awarded Celebration Matches. Consequently we have therefore come up with criteria which clubs applying will be judged against and clubs deemed to be achieving the most of the criteria will be invited to host a match.

The criteria that applications will be judges against include:

  • Clubs that are celebrating a higher milestone year of being a club – i.e. 100th year will be given priority over a 50th year celebration.
  • Clubs that participate in Bowls Big Weekend
  • Clubs with a Junior section
  • Clubs that engage with Bowls England including engaging with our Awards and Volunteering programme
  • Clubs that are advancing and supporting the objectives of Bowls England
  • Clubs that have engaged with Coach Bowls and have an active coaching programme at their club
  • Clubs with safeguarding officers / the correct disciplinary practices in place
  • Clubs that are trying their upmost through innovative methods to try and drive the club and sport forward
  • Clubs engaging with local community / school groups
  • Evidence that hosting a Celebration Match would provide a significant development opportunity for the club
  • Evidence that hosting a Celebration Match would provide a significant PR opportunity for the club and or wider image of the sport.
  • Clubs with plans of how they can deliver a brilliant Celebration Match – taking into account the ‘What should a Celebration Match look and feel like at a club?’ section
  • Geographic diversity; we will be selecting clubs from different counties rather than several from one county. Where more than one club has applied from the county we will work through the above and may also contact the county administrator where appropriate for their input.

Host clubs are requested to cover the cost of the Bowls England team to participate in the match and for catering, however if members of the Bowls England team bring a guest to the meal, the club may charge the guest but this must be directly administrated by the club.

If you would like to apply to host a Celebration Match you will need to complete an application form which can be found here. Please note that applications should be received by the end of February the year before the club wishes the Celebration Match to take place. For example, if your Celebratory year is 2026 you must apply by 28th February 2025.

If you have any questions please contact

Apply to host a Celebration Match

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