GOSPORT BOWLS CLUB pulled off a great scalp on Bank Holiday weekend when England captain and Commonwealth Games coach Kirk Smith gave a masterclass to aspiring bowlers; thus encouraging a growing number of applicants to join their club from early July after last year’s Covid-19 stagnation of non-elite sport.
A two day event was held at Gosport Bowls Clubs, located on Anglesey Road, saw bowlers of all ages and abilities invited to showcase their skills whilst getting a taste for the ‘little-played’ sport. It was held as Gosport saw highs of twenty-one degrees in glorious summer weather over the Bank Holiday, with over thirty in attendance on both days.
Although England Bowls president Paul Robson was a visitor to Gosport BC during the open event, it was the team captain Kirk Smith who got the biggest round of applause. He was part of the Commonwealth Games side that won 3 bronze medals in 2018 and is coaching in preparation for the 2022 event to be held in Birmingham, England.
The coach is a close friend of Gosport Bowling Coach member and former international coach Derek Collins; becoming the guest of honour for the event that hasn’t been held since summer 2019. Smith spoke about his career in the sport and furthermore gave masterclasses to the group, which seemed to be enjoyed by those in attendance.
Gosport BC secretary Malcolm Weston thanked Smith for making the trip to the club and was ‘pleasantly surprised’ with the numbers who attended and interest in the event. In an interview via Portsmouth news, he said that he hopes this will translate into further success in terms of new members and supporters in the long term.
He said: ‘It went really well. We were quite pleasantly surprised, we had quite a response from the public coming in. We had the England Bowls team captain down for the day as our guest of honour and he was fantastic.
‘It was a very good weekend. We had quite a response from the people who came along trying to chase us up to get registration forms and that. It went better than we were hoping.’
The club are now beginning a four-week pre-registration for four players who attended over the weekend, but will be open for everybody wanting to join; no matter the skill level or ages. Those wanting to join can find information via the Bowls England Website: Gosport – Bowls England or by visiting Contact – GOSPORT BOWLING CLUB, Gosport (hugofox.com).
Written by Connor Steel / Photograph by Keith Woodland (Portsmouth News)