Category Archives: From Bowls England


As one of core initiatives to increase participation in the Commonwealth Games year, we are launching a new pay & play platform for bowls, called PlayBowls.

This will be a mobile-friendly website, enabling newcomers to the game to book & pay clubs for rink time.

This will help our sport become much more accessible to a potentially large and growing audience of people who want to play bowls casually and will be searching for online recreational activity.  The platform would make it easy for clubs to evolve and manage the demand from this casual audience.

So what will this do for bowls?

  • Provide the sport with a destination to signpost new participants.
  • Give clubs a valuable new service and open up a new revenue stream for them, in the same way golf clubs generate membership fees and green fees.  Clubs would benefit from secondary spend on equipment hire or refreshments and have a market of potential future members.
  • Start evolving the membership model of our sport, which is currently unsustainable.
  • Provide data of this new audience, which can help us promote new opportunities to people who try the game.

This new platform is under production and will be ready ahead of the Commonwealth Games.

We are encouraging clubs to attend one of our introductory webinars to learn more about PlayBowls and how it can benefit your club.

Wednesday 25 May @ 6pm – REGISTER
Monday 30 May @ 2.30pm – REGISTER

Sport England gives bowls a £225,000 boost as the 2022 season gets underway

Excitement is building as we reach 100 days to the start of only the third Commonwealth Games to be staged on home soil.  Birmingham 2022 provides our sport with a golden opportunity to tell its story, to inspire new participants, to galvanise volunteers and to make existing bowlers feel deeply proud.

Bowls England is delighted to announce that its plan to leverage the platform of a home Games has received a significant boost with a £225,000 grant from Sport England.  This support will allow us to go further in the promotion of our sport to a broader audience and with initiatives to get bowls into the hands of new participants this season.

Work is already underway to ensure we enjoy a momentous summer for lawn bowls.  A substantial number of affiliated clubs are hosting open days as part of Bowls’ Big Weekend at the end of May and we are working alongside hundreds of clubs to inspire newcomers to get involved in bowls when the spotlight shines on Victoria Park in July.

“We are delighted that Sport England has chosen to invest in the initiatives we are delivering to grow participation,” said Chief Executive Jon Cockcroft. “Building on its intrinsic qualities, we are evolving the way bowls can be enjoyed to complement modern lifestyles and tackle deep-rooted inequality in sports activity. This support allows us to go further and faster this summer as we bring our Fit for the Future strategy alive.”

In collaboration with the Bowls Development Alliance, other bowls codes, 35 County Associations and our network of clubs, the additional investment from Sport England will be channelled into grassroots bowls:

  • Increasing national and local marketing and PR activity to attract new bowlers to our sport.
  • Providing our affiliated clubs with heavily subsidized resources to deliver our new, casual form of the game.
  • Creating a national pay and play platform to attract new bowlers and make it easy for clubs to drive revenue from spare rink space.
  • Developing experiential opportunities for people to try bowls within their own communities.
  • Offering additional education and support to Birmingham 2022 club activators and other club volunteers.

“We are delighted to be supporting lawn bowls with its plans to capitalise on Birmingham 2022,” added Phil Smith, Director of Partnerships at Sport England.  ”We believe lawn bowls can play an important role in tackling inequalities in sports participation and we look forward to seeing our investment help broaden accessibility to the sport.”

This investment is on top of a £190,000 commitment the Bowls England board has already made to take advantage of the home Commonwealth Games.  This is one part of our Fit for the Future strategy, which is aimed at inspiring more people playing our great sport and includes building the brand of bowls, making our sport more accessible and supporting our communities.  The aim is for 1m people to experience bowls each year by 2026.

Thank-you to all of the fantastic club volunteers who are engaged with our 2022 programme, notably our Birmingham 2022 Activators and those who have registered events for Bowls’ Big Weekend.  It’s in affiliated bowls clubs’ interest to register a Birmingham 2022 Activator to be the point of contact for these projects.  This could be an existing committee member or an opportunity for clubs to engage new volunteers. If you’re affiliated club is yet to register a Birmingham 2022 Activator, click here.

We’re also running a host of webinars to support affiliated clubs to increase participation this season, click here for more details and to register.

You can find past webinars on the Bowls England website here.

We hope that existing bowlers reading this will all do their bit to encourage their non-bowling friends, family or colleagues to give their sport a try.

Here’s to a memorable summer for lawn bowls.



Come and join us for an incredible night of celebration at the inaugural Bowls England Awards Night! Tickets are on sale now for this glittering event, celebrating all levels of the our sport.

It promises to be a wonderful evening celebrating the great contribution made my counties, clubs, umpires, players and volunteers in our great sport.

With 14 awards on offer ranging from Unsung Hero to Greenkeeper of the Year, it is a fantastic opportunity to recognise the outstanding achievements made in the bowls community over the past 12 months.

Hosted at the Athena Leicester, we will start with a drinks reception, followed by a three course dinner with wine, entertainment and music from Nashville Heat.

Tickets are available for £39.50 or get a group together and book a table of 10 for £370.

A full list of FAQ’s for the event can be find here.

We look forward to having you join us to celebrate on Saturday 19th February 2022.


This Black Friday, we’ve teamed up with our Official Retail Partner Aceit to offer a great discount for competitions entrants.

Anyone who enters one of our National Competitions before 5pm on Friday 26th November will then be sent a code to get 10% off any of the Bowls England range from Aceit here: Bowls England – Aceit Sportswear Pty Ltd

So if you’re thinking about getting competitive in 2022, enter before the deadline and you’ll be able to get some new kit at a discount too!

This offer code will need to be redeemed by Wednesday 8th December.

Please note, this offer code will be sent to everyone who has entered National Competitions for 2022 by the closing date – even those who have already entered. T&Cs apply.

Bowls England’s Obituary to Hedley Bowen

Bowls England regrets to announce the passing of former Junior International Team Manager, Hedley Bowen.

Hedley was appointed Manager in 2011, and led the team to comprehensive victories in the British Isles series in both 2013 and 2014. He also provided support to the Commonwealth Games squad for Glasgow 2014.

Current England star Jamie Chestney, who was made captain of the junior team by Hedley for the 2011 series and worked closely with him ahead of Glasgow, paid tribute to him.

Jamie said: “Hedley was a very intelligent man and a great influence on my career. I learnt such a lot from him, especially regarding the psychology of the sport. Whilst hugely competitive, he was also great to just have a beer and a chat with. I’m very sorry to hear of his loss.”

In addition to Jamie, several other members of the junior teams managed by Hedley have moved on to higher honours including Jamie’s fellow performance squad members Sam Tolchard, Louis Ridout and Jamie Walker.

Hedley however was not just influential on the international stage.

He was a member of the Bowls England Development Committee for several years, and combined this role with tireless work for his own club, Royal Wootton Bassett BC (where he was made a life member) and also Bowls Wiltshire.

On the playing front, Hedley won many county honours and narrowly missed out in the final of the National Triples in 1989.

Hedley hailed from Llanelli and began playing bowls in 1971 in Llanelli before work brought him across the Severn Bridge – and whilst he was fully committed to England on the bowls green there was no doubting his Welsh heritage should the two countries meet on the rugby pitch.

Our thoughts are with wife Carol and his family at this time.


England bowler Ellen Falkner MBE has decided to call time on her glittering international career.  The three-times Commonwealth Games gold medallist, who first represented her country at senior level in 2002, was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s New Year’s honours 2020 for her outstanding contribution to the sport of bowls.

Falkner’s name has become synonymous with the sport since she won Gold in the Fours at the Manchester Commonwealth Games in 2002.  Two further golds, in the Pairs (2010) and Triples (2014) would follow, as well as a Bronze medal on the Gold Coast in 2018, making her the second most decorated English lawn bowler in Commonwealth Games history.

Her other achievements are lengthy.  She has amassed six World Championship titles (two gold, three silver and one bronze), ten Atlantic Championship titles (five gold, three silver and two bronze), two eight nation titles (both gold), won six British Isles Championship titles and gained 72 caps competing in the British Isles Women’s International Series.  Representing her home county of Cambridgeshire, Falkner has won multiple national titles and celebrated victory in the Women’s Champion of Champions tournament just a few weeks ago.  She has spent the past year in the Performance Squad competing for selection to represent England in a sixth Commonwealth Games next year.

Despite a further opportunity to represent England at Birmingham 2022, Ellen’s retirement has been accelerated by a time-bound opportunity to fulfil a long-standing ambition to emigrate to Australia. She has accepted a role working in Australia’s Para Bowls programme.

“Stepping back from my international playing career is one of the hardest things I have ever done. It’s been a big part of my life and who I am for so long. I am hugely grateful and thankful for the opportunities I have had and have always tried to represent my country with pride, passion and determination since my junior international debut in 1997.  Bowls has enabled me to travel the world, make friends for life and given me the courage to take risks and continually challenge myself. It is these attributes that have helped myself and husband Chris to make the life changing decision to move to Australia and take up an exciting career opportunity following being granted a permanent resident Visa. Covid-19 has made us think about what we would like from life, that you only live once and to follow our dreams rather than always wonder. I count myself as incredibly lucky to have met so many great people and I would genuinely like to thank all those who have shared this journey with me, at club, county and international level and for the memories we have made both on and off the green. I will miss you.”

Bowls England’s Performance Director, John McGuinness, said, “We are hugely thankful for Ellen’s contribution to bowls in England on and off the green.  Her record stands for itself; she has been a pleasure to work with and is an exemplary role model to any player aspiring to reach the top of our sport.  Her desire to see the game develop and the time she invested in coaching our para athletes has been an inspiration to so many.”

Jon Cockcroft, Bowls England Chief Executive, added, “Ellen’s service to our sport over the past two decades has been unparalleled and the MBE she received last year was fitting recognition of her outstanding contribution to bowls.  We know how difficult a decision this was for Ellen, and, whilst we are very sad to see her go, we wish her and Chris well as they embark on this new chapter of their lives.”


We are delighted to have been able to deliver a full season of domestic competitive
events in 2021, culminating in our National Finals in Victoria Park, Royal Leamington
Spa. The season provided a number of challenges as we sought to enable all bowlers to
participate safely whilst navigating through the gradual relaxation of Covid-19
restrictions. We thank everyone for the part they played in a full summer of competitive
The introduction of shorter formats in all events provided the maximum flexibility for
players, clubs and counties to arrange their respective matches. The change in format
has led to a healthy debate on our national competition programme and, building on
previous insight, we have digested the recent survey which was completed by both
current and prospective participants.
As part of our core aim to grow participation in lawn bowls, a priority is to deliver an
annual programme of national competitions which provide a structure and environment
for all players to feel challenged, rewarded and committed to our sport. This involves
satisfying the needs of existing competitions entrants, whilst ensuring competitions are
accessible for as broad a range of bowlers as possible. There is little doubt the number
one barrier to people entering competitions, or entering more competitions, is pressures
on their time.
To that end, our outline plans for 2022 were sent to all county associations last week
and, following their feedback, we are pleased to share them more widely.
National Finals 2022
We have repeatedly outlined that 2022 is a challenging year for the domestic calendar,
and we have been advised that Birmingham 2022 has use of the Victoria Park venue
until Thursday 18th August. Building in venue set-up time, the indicative dates for the
Bowls England National Finals are Thursday 25th August to Sunday 11th September
inclusive. We will be meeting with Birmingham 2022 and Warwick District Council to
confirm this and are mindful of the challenges of the later date on players and
We will be reflecting on this year’s National Finals and making improvements based on
your feedback. We aim to go on ticket sale for the 2022 National Finals before the end
of 2021. Please sign up to our Jack newsletter for updates.

National Championship 2022 – Formats and Qualification
Following an analysis of the survey results and feedback from counties, we will be
running all the National Championships using the following formats:
 Singles (including Junior Singles) – 21 up
 Pairs (including Junior Pairs) – Four bowls 18 ends
 Triples – Three bowls 18 ends
 Fours (including Senior Fours) – Two bowls 18 ends
 Two-bowl singles – Two bowls 21 ends

For the integrity of the events, the same format must be played at all stages of the
Championships including county qualifying rounds. As in 2021, there will be 48 qualifiers
for the National Finals in Championship events. The 13 counties with the most entrants
in each event will receive two qualification places.
The closing date for receipt of qualifier information from counties to Bowls England will
be Monday 8th August 2022.
Inter-County Events
To provide more space in the competition schedule, the Middleton and Johns will remain
as knock-out competitions and the Finals will be played as part of the 2022 National
Finals. Qualifying for the Balcomb Trophy, Walker Cup, White Rose Trophy and Amy
Rose Bowl will also remain as knockout as in 2021, but the Regional Finals for the
respective events for each gender will be on separate dates. We shall circulate the
programme for inter-county events next month once the wider National Competition
programme has been confirmed.
National Competitions and National Finals Schedule 2022
Based on the feedback and the logistical challenges of fitting around Birmingham 2022,
we will spend the next few weeks working on the following:
 Developing the National Finals schedule to maximize the number of players taking
part and enhance the spectator experience
 Formats of play in National Competitions and the point at which each competition
proceeds to the National Finals
 Introduction of regional stages of National Competitions to reduce travel time for
players and to take advantage of staging local events around the Commonwealth
 The financial viability of additional live streaming during the 2022 National Finals
Entries for National Competitions will be opened once this work has been completed,
which we anticipate to be towards the middle of October.
International Events and Commonwealth Games preparation
Discussions regarding the British Isles events (Championships and International Series)
are ongoing between the nations that form the respective organising bodies regarding
plans for 2022. Details will be circulated once finalised.
More broadly, the England squad’s preparations for Birmingham 2022 will become more
intense as we get closer to the Games. We will be organising the international schedule
once we are clear about the domestic calendar, working with all stakeholders to ensure
our players are well-prepared mentally and physically for a home Games.
Autumn Counties Meeting
We will be meeting with Counties in the autumn to explore some of the outstanding
areas of discussion for the 2022 National Championships, Competitions and Finals, as
well as looking forward to 2023 and beyond.
We will continue to assess the merits of changes made to competitions, digest feedback
from players about their experience of playing in national competitions and ensure our
competitions programme meets the needs of participants and Bowls England’s strategy.

BE Competitor Information


17th August, 2021 by Rob Short

The Bowls England National Finals begin this week; for competitors, this is the culmination of five months of hard work.

Following the closing date for submission of national championship qualifiers on Monday 16th August, we are in the process of sending out Player Information to all competitors, but you can also find this by clicking here, or on the button below.

 Player Pack

You can also find the index of competitors as of 17-08-21 by clicking here, or on the button below.

 Index Of Competitors

Bowls England Competition Survey

We are pleased to launch our Competitors Survey 2021.

We would love to hear from existing national competition players; lapsed national competition players; and those who have never entered a national competition but might consider it in the future; in order to explore how we can grow participation and develop the National Finals experience. You can take the survey, which should take 10-15 minutes, by clicking here or on the button below.

 Take The Survey

Back at the start of 2021, there was absolutely no guarantee the competitions season would be able to progress. After meetings with our County Associations in February, we announced changes to the formats for this summer only. We were motivated by a desire to get as many people playing as feasible and therefore made decisions that we felt would make it most likely that the full competition would take place – and we are pleased that this has been possible.

We will then reflect on the findings, consult with Counties, and make decisions for the future based on the following key principles:

• Delivering value and enjoyment to those who already enter competitions.

• Maximizing the number of bowlers who are able to participate in competitions, noting the time pressures of those bowlers who work and/or have families.

• Achieving the right balance between travel and playing time.

• Ensuring ‘every bowl matters’ so matches are exciting for players and spectators.

• Ensuring the National Finals are played over no more than 3 weekends so we can improve the event experience and better promote it to a wider audience.

The deadline for completing this survey is Sunday 29th August at 5pm.

Thank you for your time.