Bowls England 2024 AGM Determines Future of National Competitions

24th February, 2024

Plans for the 2025 competitive season have been confirmed following the Bowls England AGM held at Goodwood BC in Leicester on Saturday 24 February.

The meeting also included an update on Bowls England’s continued work to increase participation through Bowls’ Big Weekend, Bowls Bash and PlayBowls, and details of the financial results over the past 12 months.

Delegates representing the 35 County Associations that form Bowls England considered a total of 21 propositions related to the competitions programme put forward by Bowls England and County Associations.

Bowls England’s propositions for the elevation of Singles, Pairs, Triples and Fours as Blue Riband events, new-look inter-county events to form a key part of the performance pathway and the introduction of an under 17 national singles to reflect commitment to junior bowls were among 16 of those passed.

Propositions to change the format of the Top Club and remove the Two-Bowl Singles from the National Finals programme were the only two propositions put forward by Bowls England that failed.

Following the investiture, Jon Cockcroft, Chief Executive of Bowls England, gave a review of the 2023 Annual Report.  Highlighting accomplishments across the five key areas mapped out within the Fit For The Future Strategy – which can be found here – showcasing that the sport is making positive progress.  This is evidenced in the increase of 1.4% of affiliated bowlers, the second year of growth, unprecedented commercial income being reinvested in the sport and the most visible National Finals ever staged.

Heading in to the 2024 season, it was stated that focus is now on embedding Bowls Bash and Play Bowls, as ways to drive participation and additional revenue, particularly for clubs.  Disciplinary and Governance processes continue to be a priority, alongside our collaborative work with the Commonwealth Games England and World Bowls.

Click here to read the 2023 Annual Report and Financial Information.

Financial Update

Stephen Hemsley, Board Director responsible for Finance, explained that in 2022/23 we set out to draw down a further £180,000 on our cash reserves as we continue to invest in our Fit for the Future strategy and build a platform for future growth. With the economic climate pushing costs up, and some planned and unexpected increased expenditure, managing our costs proved a challenge and we re-forecast our outturn down by a further £65k to meet our objectives. The mid-year re-forecast budget was achieved, and so the overall deficit for the financial year was £245,391.

The result of this is that our cash reserves are now at £565,807 slightly lower than our long-term projections at this stage of our Fit for the Future strategy. Our long-term financial planning requires us to return our budget towards break-even in 2023/24 and we have made significant strides in this year’s budget. In short, we are forecasting a small deficit of £23,775.

The End of Year Accounts were approved.

Click here to read the 2023 Annual Report and Financial Information.


Affiliation Fee Ratification and Bowls England Directors

The members also ratified the Affiliation Fee changes voted in at the 2023 AGM, whilst Adam Tanner (Wiltshire) and Mal Evans (Warwickshire) were appointed to serve as Directors of Bowls England for a further three-year term until the 2027 AGM.



A total of 19 propositions had been put forward as a result of the Competitions Review.  Following significant consultation across the country and a vote at the AGM, the following was agreed:


  • To elevate Blue Riband and Performance events at the Aviva National Finals
  • To elevate top-level county competition consistent with international level
  • To amend playing numbers and formats in White Rose Trophy & Amy Rose Bowl
  • To standardise the age in all junior events to under 24 on 1 April annually for both genders
  • To introduce under 17 singles events for both genders
  • To create multi-county regional events
  • To retain Middleton Cup and Johns Trophy in agreed format – Delegates voted in favour of this event being Round Robin
  • To introduce a Mixed Over 60 Inter-County event
  • To amend the Club Two Fours to an open event
  • To restrict entry in the Champion of Champions to ‘Club Champions ONLY’
  • To retain the Senior Fours age limit in line with British Isles qualification requirements
  • To set the age limit for all senior events (excluding Senior Fours) to players aged over 60 on 1 April annually and permit daytime play in those events
  • To introduce ‘Novice Pairs’ for new and less experienced players
  • To change eligibility to the Family Pairs to anyone who has not played international or county level (Balcomb and Walker) representative bowls in the last 5 years
  • To further investigate how to consolidate the administration for the benefit of players and administrators as part of implementation plan, taking into account the array of systems already in place at county level
  • County Associations to continue to manage Championship events
  • To introduce set dates in the later rounds of the Top Club as a trial for 2025 as part of national calendar


  • To revamp the Top Club event to attract more clubs
  • To remove the Two-Bowl Singles Championship from the Aviva National Finals programme

Two further propositions had been put forward by County Associations, both of which were passed.

  • That counties with TWO entrants (A & B) shall be shown in the championship draw to be in separate halves (therefore, removing the “OPEN” draw that is now in place)
  • That the area final stage of the Tony Allcock Trophy, Men’s and Ladies Top Club and the Men’s Club Two Fours to be played on a neutral green

A proposition from Hampshire with regard to the White Rose and Amy Rose had been withdrawn as a result of the earlier vote.

There has been much debate about the competitions’ propositions, and there is now a mandate from the membership.  We look forward to assembling an implementation party, and working together across the sport to maximize this new programme and deliver the objectives that shaped the review.

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