Eldon Grove Bowls Club rolling out red carpet for new members

Felicity Hunter with (left to right) Mike Pears, David Payne, Norman Bell and Dr Kai Sandor.
Felicity Hunter with (left to right) Mike Pears, David Payne, Norman Bell and Dr Kai Sandor.

A SHORTAGE of bowlers has led to one town club to appeal for new members.

Eldon Grove Bowls Club, in Eldon Grove, Hartlepool, is suffering the same fate as many similar clubs throughout the town and around the region – that older members are not being replaced by fitter and younger players.

The sport is typically thought of as being an older person’s game, but David Payne, president of Eldon Grove Bowls Club, says this is just a myth.

The friendly and sociable organisation currently has 95 members, with the oldest being 91-years-old and the youngest at the tender age of 15. The majority of its bowlers though are aged 50 plus.

Club chiefs held an open day on Wednesday this week, which attracted a steady stream of people who were curious about the sport.

David and the rest of the group hope that they will return and join in many pleas--ant but competitive weekly games they put on.

David, a 71-year-old dad-of-three from the West Park area of Hartlepool, said: “We held the open day to attract new members because we have a number of teams operating throughout the week and we’re short of members.

“Some people might think the sport is for older people but it’s not actually, there’s a wide cross-section of people.

“However, as members get older they need to be replaced by younger people to keep the sport alive.”

David, a former accountant, said no experience is needed to join, and the sport is open to both men and women. A third of the club’s current members are women.

There is also a variety of matches throughout the week and at weekends.

“I’ve only been playing for about three years,” said David. “I’d thought about joining for a long long time but never ever came in.

“I’m so glad I did, I thoroughly enjoy it. It was a great honour to become president as well.”

He added: “I hope people do come and join us, people who have walked past and never done anything about coming in, like I did.

“It’s a welcoming and sociable club. The sport is competitive but it’s calm, it’s enjoyable, and it’s not pressurised.”

Anyone who would like to join the club can do so by ringing (01429) 268045.