Bowled over by appeal success

Hartlepool Indoor Bowls Club members and children enjoying the Open Day. Picture by FRANK REID
Hartlepool Indoor Bowls Club members and children enjoying the Open Day. Picture by FRANK REID

BOSSES at a town centre sporting venue have been bowled over by the response to a recruitment drive following an appeal in the Hartlepool Mail.

Since members of Hartlepool and District Indoor Bowling Club, based at its Mill House site, off Raby Road, appeared in the Mail in August ahead of an open day, 45 new members have taken to the mat.

Chiefs at the club are delighted with the take-up to the sport.

Dave Kilner, chairman of directors at the club, said: “We did an open day back in August and really benefitted from it and the appeal in the Mail really helped.

“Anything that has appeared in the Mail for us has always been fruitful.

“We recruited 45, which was a good plus factor.”

Mr Kilner said the sad part of bowling is that the number of older players can lead to a a fall in members when the club loses people, but the club recruits people from as young as eight and right into their 90s.

“We are trying to recruit them into leagues,” added Mr Kilner, who says “friendship, fellowship and a lot of opportunities to compete at national level” are reasons for the sport’s popularity.

“But the big void we have is for ages 35 to 55.”

The club has top players in Lauren Copeland, who was an under-25 international, but has just got her cap to bowl at senior level, as well as two full senior internationals, Paul Hartley and Glen Skipp.

Recruitment at the venue is ongoing, with Age UK representatives carrying out training, and coaching for beginners going on until December.

The bumper number of new recruits coincides with the club’s 40th anniversary and the President of the English Indoor Bowls Association will be travelling to the club on January 8 for a celebration.

There is still time to take up the sport and anyone with an interest can pop along to the club or call (01429) 260321.