Andrew Smith is the epitome of a competitive club bowler, enticed into the game through his sons who both played at junior level.
He is now a regular on the competition circuit with over fifteen years’ experience in the sport.
However, the move to enter into competitions was not a natural step and involved encouragement by other competitive club members in Leicestershire.
Andrew had played for more than a decade before entering into competitions, but once he had a taste for the format, he quickly found a new love for the game.
He recalled his recent successes, most recently reaching the area final of the National Mixed Fours in 2021. Andrew said: “I prefer a team game, with formats such as Top Club and Double Rink, plus the Unbadged locally which, with the absence of county players, affords club players a better chance of progression.”
Now a well-established player, Andrews enjoys encouraging friends to share his passion for the game by joining him at the club for a competitive match.
Andrew describes competitions as a “great value for money, which gives you more experience of meeting different levels of bowlers which is crucial”.
He continued by adding, “National Competitions create an immediate opportunity to socialise with other players or members as well. It is a big help in building your skills and experience in the sport.”
Andrews feels new formats that encourage the novice bowler to enter are vital to expanding the sport. Those who may be brand new to the game or possess only a few years of playing experience can improve quickly if given the right opportunities to play competitively.
“It would eliminate new players feeling intimidated to enter, as they build up their skills and know-how.
Many people talk about the game being inclusive but taking the step into competitions can be a big hurdle for new and inexperienced players.”
Andrew describes how “lots of members have the perception it’s not for them” when considering competitions such as County Competitions & National Competitions. As Andrew knows well, this is not the case – the challenge of competitions can help you improve your game & meet more people.
He also offers the idea of a new competition that would entice players, with less than five years’ experience to enter.
”This would encourage more new people into the game and create a deeper pool of resources for clubs to call upon when selecting representative teams.”
Shepshed Town BC in Leicester has a broad range of players; novices to the sport right through to County Champions and National Final competitors.
Andrew is always happy to share his bowls experience and is now gearing up for the new outdoor season in 2022.
Want to play bowls competitively and challenge yourself? If you are a member of a Bowls England affiliated club, you can enter our National Competitions. You can find out which competitions you’re eligible for here, or you can head straight to our entry portal here. The closing date for entries is Tuesday 1st March 2022.