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Bowling attracts the wrong headlines

Bowling News

One of the national daily newspapers has caught up on the Callum Wraight saga at the George Masters and, as some red-top newspapers do, has added its own angle on the unsavoury episode in yesterday's edition of the Daily Star.

A bowls player claims he suffered "horrific" abuse at a recent event - with his daughter fearing he was going to be attacked.

Callum Wraight was competing at the George Masters tournament in Oldbury, West Midlands, on October 1 when it is alleged he was threatened with violence by a spectator. The organiser of the event confirmed the threat was made while a witness also claimed one man exposed himself and "urinated up the shed" at the bowls club.

Wraight, who is from Shrewsbury, was being watched by his partner and two children when spectators are alleged to have tried to put him off by hailing personal abuse at him. He is reported to have been "really upset" as a result with his young daughter "petrified her daddy was doing to get smacked."

The unnamed witness said: "A couple of really drunk people turned up. They put some money on certain players and then started verbally abusing the players and threatening people.

"It got worse and worse as the day went on. Then one of them pulled his trousers down in the middle of everybody and started urinating up the shed.

"They were using foul and abusive language. They were given a warning. There were kids around. People were nearly fighting with them, as the parents had had enough. After the tournament one of them fell asleep and fell off a chair.

"I've seen drunk people at bowls but nothing like this. it's generally a well-maintained sport. It was a shock. They were going around and around the ground. They just had one warning and that was that."

Bowls is seen as a genteel sport across the world. Organiser Elliot McGuinness said Wraight's version of events differed to his but tried to reach out to the bowls star after the threat of violence.

"This is the first year we've ever had any issues with crowd trouble and, believe it or not, it isn't something we're really prepared for when planning a bowls competition where our main aim is to raise much-needed club funds for our green and surroundings," he said.

"It was deeply regrettable that, after words were exchanged between Callum and one spectator, he was threatened with physical violence. This spectator who was not a member of the George Bowling Club was spoken to by our club chairman and club captain and warned about his future conduct, if he wished to remain spectating.

"From then on he did take a shine to Callum and started supporting him for the remainder of the competition. It's a shame that these events overshadowed a good day's bowling. I have reached out to Callum this week after reading his comments to offer my apologies regarding Saturday's events but have not yet received a response. "I'm hoping this is something we can now all move on from and I look forward to planning the 40th George Masters in 2023."

If you haven't read Callum Wraight's very different version of the abuse he suffered then you can catch up here.

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