THE Isle of Man will be playing host to nearly 1,000 crown green bowlers when the annual Bowls Festivals take place later this year during June and September. The June event is celebrating its 91st anniversary while the younger September event first took to the greens in the late 1960s.
The competition is centred on the three greens at Noble’s Park in Douglas while two other Douglas venues – the Villa Marina and Finch Hill – are also used. A fourth site, at nearby Onchan Park, is in the schedule as well. All the venues are within a four-mile radius. The overall winner in the men’s final will scoop the big prize of £3,000 and the ladies’ champion will collect £1,000.
With most of the competitors coming from the north of England, Yorkshire, Shropshire, Merseyside or the Midlands special travel and accommodation packages are available through the ‘Bowling Festivals’ page at www.visitisleofman.com
Dates for the two events are June 18-22 and September 3-7, closing dates for entries being May 14th and August 6th respectively. The defending singles champions are Jack Hargreaves (George and Dragon) and Cynthia Tonge from Chesterfield as regards the June Festival, and John Kennish from the Onchan Club in the Isle of Man and Julie Green (Castlefields) in respect of September.
Political member for Tourism at the Department of Economic Development Geoff Corkish MBE MHK, said: ‘The appeal of the June and September Festivals is as great now as it has ever been. The Festivals have evolved over the years with the organisers introducing innovative competitions to attract all levels of players. I sometimes wonder how Mr. W. R. Baker from Wolverhampton, who won the inaugural event in 1921, would feel if he was to see how the Festivals had developed in the intervening 91 years. The event creates a great profile for Douglas and Onchan, showcasing the superb standard of greens and facilities on offer for this popular sport.’
Organiser of the Bowls Festival, Steve Moore, commented: ‘Over the course of the week we will be running a total of eleven competitions ranging from the men’s and women’s singles championship down to the ‘last chance’ competition. The schedule is arranged in such a way that even if players lose all their matches they can still be bowling every day if they wish.’