On June 12th, Cotswold Indoor Bowls Club once again opened its doors to an annual competition for people with a learning disability; The great Western Bowls Tournament. The club has been doing this for the last 5 years, and, as a sign of its commitment to disabled groups, it makes no charge for the use of the rinks.
Special tribute must be paid to the four members of the club, who gave up their time to act as umpires; Di and Richard Lacey and Marie and Mervyn Jefferies.
Seven teams competed this year. They came from a wide area; Cardiff, Windsor, The Isle of Wight and just one from Gloucestershire. This local team is firmly based at the Cotswold club.
The competition is on a round robin basis, so every team remains in the game throughout. This undoubtedly helps to raise the level of enjoyment and satisfaction. It was lovely to see how the players found great enjoyment in the game, and there was also some very good bowling.
Cardiff brought four teams. Many of their players were very experienced and talented, as well as being high achievers in terms of disability. They ended the day as champions of Division 1, and also took the top two places in Division 2.
The Cotswold team, who were runners up last year, came third this year, but had the satisfaction of pushing one of the Cardiff teams into fourth place.
Everyone went away in good spirits, vowing to come again next year, and try to do even better. Cotswold Bowls Club look forward to that.
The Great Western is the brainchild of Martin Stockwell, of Whiteshill, who set the competition up for the benefit of the people attending a day centre in Beeches Green, where he worked at the time. The competition has spread to several parts of the country.