Updated: Jan 21
Last month we reported on a new local initiative among Huddersfield based leagues set to address the demise in bowling that has beset our sport for too long. This new move will look to 11 local bowling leagues working together to reverse the trend of reduced team numbers and fewer bowlers playing in our leagues.
This initiative has been started by Richard Armitage who is General Secretary of the Veterans League and he has contacted 11 leagues in the area to call a meeting for like-minded organisations and individuals to start to work together to combat the drop in numbers.
The first meeting has now been arranged for Thursday 20 January and will see all the leagues discussing how they can best tackle the worrying drop in the number of bowlers and teams in our local leagues. A draft agenda has been put together and a Yorkshire CCGBA representative invited to join the meeting to drum up support for a move to work together in the coming months. The early target is likely to be a shared approach to use the national campaign being established for May Bank Holiday weekend and called Bowls Big Weekend.
Of the 11 leagues approached, 10 have already confirmed their attendance at the initial meeting and it is hoped that the other one will be there as well. The 11 leagues approached are:
Colne Valley League
Dearne & Don League
Huddersfield Junior League
Huddersfield Ladies Afternoon League
Huddersfield Ladies League
Huddersfield Ladies Works League
Huddersfield Liberal League
Huddersfield Veterans Bowling League
Huddersfield Winter League
Huddersfield Works League
Richard has set some early objectives for the leagues coming together and states that the sole objective of the group is to work together to increase participation in bowling across Huddersfield involving 9-90 year olds regardless of gender or race. The aim being to work together with other leagues to create a strategy and deliver events aimed at recruiting more participants to bowling. Covid has, over the last two years, exacerbated the need to reverse a decline that has been going on many years. Several teams in our leagues played short of players and I’d rather be proactive in helping them to increase their membership rather than seeing them continuing to fail to field full teams or disappearing altogether.
He goes on to say that we can all criticise the BCGBA and YCCGBA for inactivity but they’re cursed with a structure from a century ago, we need more professional management of the game but that’s not going to remedy the current situation. Some clubs are quite successful with membership whilst others are woefully lacking. Bowls England, which is the national body for flat green bowling, doesn’t seem to be suffering the same as crown green bowling. Something has to be done and I believe that the associations working together can be the catalyst to reverse trends.