Steve Hossack: Young bowlers are setting a new trend

Hannah Brown
Hannah Brown

Despite some people’s perception of the game being a sport for the older generation, crown green bowls does in fact cater for all age groups.

Age, though experience is often an advantage, size, gender, fitness and athleticism in reality count for very little – bowlers just have to have an eye for following the jack.

Bowls is one of the few sports where a teenager and a pensioner can compete on a level playing field.

Although it is probably fair to say that the senior bowlers still want to win, they also love to see the juniors taking part in the sport and invariably offer guidance to their younger rivals during their games.

Both the Doncaster Bowls Association and individual clubs have worked hard in recent years to get more youngsters playing the sport and 12 clubs currently field juniors in their respective teams.

Whilst the quantity is still not there, the quality certainly is.

Doncaster junior bowlers are now making their mark in both South Yorkshire Bowling and British Crown Green Bowling at Under 18 level.

Doncaster boasted three of the four finalists in this year’s SYC Junior Ladies and Junior Gents Merit competitions.

Natasha Jackson (Yorkshire Main) and Hannah Brown (Pilkington Recreation) met in a close fought ladies’ final.

Natasha, a winner in 2011, lifted the trophy for the second time in three years as she beat the 2010 champion, 21-20.

Both girls have subsequently qualified for the forthcoming British Crown Green Junior Ladies Merit final in Lancashire.

Adam Jones (Denaby Welfare) failed in his bid to repeat his success of two years earlier in the Junior Gents final, but still qualified for last month’s national finals where he reached the last four.

Back in 2009 and the following year, Doncaster had to use ‘guest bowlers’ to make up their team of eight bowlers in SYCCGBA Junior Inter District competitions against Sheffield, Barnsley and Rotherham/Wath.

But the appointment of the much-respected Bob Jackson as team manager in 2011 has helped change the situation for the better and the Doncaster youngsters, who range from nine to 17 years of age, are now closing the gap on their more experienced and older South Yorkshire rivals, who boast bigger pools.

They also look the part thanks to Kier Northern providing team polo shirts for the teams, whose members previously turned out in a variety of different coloured tops.

The 2013 squad, put together by Bob following the Lions’ Merit, comprises: Adam Jones, Adam Dawson, Jack Stocks, Ryan Lyson, Callum O’Brien, Chloe Carrington, Luke Carrington, Bailey Rumney, Hannah Brown and Natasha Jackson.