During the recent Festival
of Carpet Bowls at Potters, along with the other folks who
pop in from time to time to see what's going on, it might surprise
you to learn that there were some visitors from overseas.
You may not be aware that Carpet Bowls
is a sport which is being played all around the world. And while
it might not be a huge surprise to hear that it is popular in
places like Canada, Australia and New Zealand, it is starting
to get a foothold in countries a little closer to home.
In fact, places like Norway, which is where
the group in question had come from. They were visiting for a
couple of days as part of an ongoing dialogue with the ECBA which
goes back more than a year.
Norwegian Carpet Bowls
The original contact with us came from a representative of Bowls
Sweden, Tommy Dahlgren, who himself had been contacted by the
Norwegians to help them get Carpet Bowls up and running in their
Although the game is widely played there
is no universally accepted set of rules, almost everyone has
their own version. Even New Zealand and Australia, who play each
other at an international level, have different rules from one
another. But Sweden and now Norway have, importantly, chosen
to adopt the English Carpet Bowls rules.
With the support of the the Norwegian Directorate
of Health the game had been introduced with the aim of helping
to improve physical health and, although it is still early days,
they now have several clubs and they have even played a match
Having contacted the ECBA Chairman, Mike Walker, the upshot was
a visit to the English Triples at Braintree in September 2014
where they were able to get a look at the event and see how it
Following on from that, earlier this year,
in February, a team of Norwegian bowlers came over to play against
Bedfordshire. As you can read from the report here
(Bedfordshire Carpet Bowls) and here
(Bedfordshire Today), it was only a small group and naturally
they were a good deal less experienced than their opponents,
but the fact that they made the trip over here is remarkable
And so to this latest visit to Potters
which was an opportunity to see the game being played on a larger
scale and comes back to the reason why the game was established
in Norway, because the group consisted mainly of officials from
Their interest comes from recognition that
an ageing population needs opportunities to be more active and
ties in with an initiative from the World
It is a commonly heard complaint that there are not enough young
people coming into the sport and that the participants are growing
ever older, however this is something which the Norwegians are
not only not concerned about, but are positively embracing.
The health authorities there recognised
that, with a population that is growing older, they need to consider
prevention rather than cure, and that means regular exercise.
And Carpet Bowls fits the bill.
Added to that is the fact that it is low
threshold. Everyone can take part, it is free (thanks to
government support), mats can be rolled out anywhere and it provides
older people with a social network, which is very important at
a time of life when people often find themselves losing their
The Norwegian initiative has led subsequently to interest from
other countries, with Germany, Denmark and even Latvia so far
showing an interest, although it is still very early days.
This in turn has led to discussions regarding
the instigation of a European Carpet Bowls Federation, talks
about which are ongoing, with the possibility of a meeting later
in the year at Potters, to coincide with the National Championships
which will afford the visitors the opportunity to see the game
being played at it's most competitive.
Having seen the Festival in action it is now the intention of
the Norwegians to pay another visit, in 2016,
but this time to participate.
It is of course still early days, but at
the time of writing they are talking about bringing over a contingent
of some 30 players.
Again it should be stressed that the exact
level of their involvement has yet to be finalised, but if it
happens this represents a very exciting step for Carpet Bowls.
And of course it opens up the possibility
for something more formal in the way of international events
in the future with English Carpet Bowls working with Potters
to do whatever is needed to try and make it happen.
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