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Pipeline to the jack as plumbers play Bowls Bash

Hidden skills, and great enjoyment, abounded at Gildredge Park Bowls Club in July as 48 local plumbers and plumbing companies came to the club for an evening of Bowls Bash. The evening had been requested by trade wholesalers Sussex Plumbing Supplies as part of their regular networking get-togethers with their customers.

The plumbers very quickly picked up the Bowls Bash format. Their natural hand-eye co-ordination shone through. Strong arms meant there was no problem with weight, and the ditch walls and the jack had a good bashing!

Teams of three played two-bowl, five-end sets in a sort of informal round robin arrangement. The bonus points for a ‘kiss’ on the jack, and the chance for a ‘powerplay’ added to the competitive edge. There was much banter and laughter all evening. Two hours of bowling flashed by and the light was fading as the bowling finished with a mass spider for a cash prize.

Pizzas had been ordered and arrived right on time so everyone ended up in the clubhouse for drinks, food and prize-giving.

The plumber’s organiser Andy said "Thanks for such a fantastic evening, everyone thoroughly enjoyed it. Will be doing it again next year.”

Gildredge Park Bowls Club member and organiser Jeff Barnes said “The secret, I think, is to have everything prepared well beforehand especially since there were 48 non-bowlers. So, 48 sets of two bowls were laid out on 8 rinks with jacks and mats in place marked by golf tees in the ground. Teams were organised before they arrived. After a quick bit of Health and Safety the visitors were bowling, and the matches underway, within just a couple of minutes of stepping on the green. The “in/out” stickers remove problems of wrong bias, the fixed jack/mat positions speed up the transition between ends, and the scorecards are easy to use. The plumbers were our second group Bowls Bash event of the season. We have two more events in the diary already.”

Gildredge Bowls Club has adopted the Bowls Bash format for its corporate and group events. Club Chairman Jonathan Doust said “Bowls Bash is an ideal format for non-bowlers who want to have a fun go at bowls. It is quick and easy to pick up, retains all the elements of the traditional game, yet is quick and exciting to play. Our club has been promoting group visits on empty evenings during the season. Visitors pay a green fee, pizzas are ordered in, and the bar is open. The evenings link us with the local community, businesses and sponsors. They expose non-bowlers (often of working age) to a sport they have never tried, and raise significant funds for the club. Working with groups and using the Bowls Bash format makes running an event manageable and worthwhile.”

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