Margaret ShorterSpecial to The NEWS
The Qualicum Beach Lawn Bowling Club successfully hosted its first provincial indoor lawn bowling tournament this weekend.
A pilot tournament, winners earned contributions to help them get to the Pacific Indoor Bowling Green in Vancouver, in April.
Winners for the men were first Vern Greenhill, second Hirendra Bhartu, third Derek Kaufman and fourth Gord Fall.
The winning women were first Lynda Robbins, second Sandi Mitchell, and Dolores Adams and Jamee Sidel tied for third, each winning one game and tying two.
Lynn Chwartacki, a 25-year veteran of the sport said: “This is the first time all of the Island has been invited to one tournament.”
A total of 22 players from Duncan, Courtney, Port Alberni, Parksville and Victoria competed in the event.
Most notably Jaymee Sidel, from the Oak Bay Club, competed indoors for the first time.
“It takes personal drive, skill, practice and knowledge to do well in the sport,” said Sidel, the 2013 Women’s Under-25 Canadian Champion.
She also won the national qualifier in Hong Kong and China in 2014, and World Bowls has invited her to the 2016 World Junior Championships in Queensland, Australia this April.
In the summer there is a competition every weekend at the Qualicum Beach lawn bowling club.
To maintain the outdoor fields the grass is mowed to perfection three times a week. Even at that, outdoor grass has more variables. Indoor with carpet bowls are even, having the same, more predictable speed.
The indoor facility at Qualicum Beach is seven years new. Mick Banks explained that there are about 120 club members and all positions in the club are voluntary to get the jobs done. The only other indoor/outdoor facility in Canada is in Vancouver.
Lawn Bowling is a growing sport in Canada. Stephen Forrest an indoor coach from Port Alberni explained that Canada has a world ranking of eight.
At the world level it is a segregated sport, at the pro level it is singles. He knows of bowls as far afield as Newfoundland and the Yukon, where they practise on a soccer pitch.
Lawn bowling has been traced to the 13th century London and has always been included in the Commonwealth Games.
The top four countries in the sport are Australia and New Zealand, which play outdoors and Scotland and England, which play primarily indoors. Weather, of course being the biggest factor in deciding which field to play on.
It is a sport that has no age, size or sex restrictions. It can be played in pairs, doubles, singles and mixed. About 20 years ago bowl sizes changed and now more people are playing in Asian countries such as the Philippines, Malaysia and China.