This week, Inksplott caught up with Martyn Watts from Phoenix Bowls Club and chatted about the history of the club and their desire to start up a ladies team.
Phoenix Bowls Club has been going since 1990 and celebrated 25 years last year. The club bowls at Splott Park bowls green and, in 2014, took over management of the green from the council because the fees were too high for the members.
Martyn explained that local community wouldn’t have been able to bowl at an affordable price if they had to continue paying the £6,500 annual maintenance fee. Feeling that they had nothing to lose, club members had a meeting and decided to take over the green, maintenance and all that goes with it. Care of the green is done on a voluntary basis and the green and club are going strong.
Martyn said, “We brought ourselves into 21st century, Facebook and all that. Everyone thinks it’s an old man’s game but it’s not.”
Having seen a Facebook post asking for female players, I asked Martyn about this drive and he explained that they are looking for 16 women to come together and form a league team:
“Splott has never had a ladies team. The bowling green was built in 1907 but in over 100 years of bowls on Splott Park, they’ve never seen a ladies team represent Splott. We’re looking for ladies to be the first ladies team to bowl out of Splott Park.”
“We can give all the support needed to get people started”, Martyn said. “What we need is interested people, people who want to learn the game. We have bowls and enough to kit a team out until they can afford their own and the club supplies shirts.”
Martyn is also keen to encourage people to give bowls a try and benefit from the social aspect:
“Bowls is more of a social event as well as a sporting one; it brings people together. It’s a level playing field for everyone. We have men in their eighties and children as young as 10 playing.”
Social bowling happens at Splott Park on a Thursday eve from 4pm and Friday afternoons from 1pm. Anyone can go along, have a go and see what it’s like. If you would like to become a member, it costs £10 a year and that covers you to play most days of the week as a social member.
Anyone interested can look at the website – www.splottphoenixbowlsclub.co.uk. This month the club is running taster courses at the pavilion for everyone – indoors and free. 11am – 1pm on a Monday and 2-4pm on a Friday afternoon. These are open to all, any age and ability.
Martyn and his team mates would welcome any newcomers with open arms:
“People’s perception of bowls is that it’s boring, but it’s nothing like it is on telly – it’s really social and it’s about getting people out of the house, talking and enjoying the sunshine. We just want people to come and try it – we think they’ll love it when they get into it. Bowls is fun to play and easy to learn. Come along and have a chat!”
League bowls start on 9th April. Social bowling starts end of April.
Men play league fixtures on Wednesdays and Saturdays while ladies play on Tuesdays and Thursdays. League fixtures are held in the Cardiff municipality and the club has home and away games.
Martyn Watts is Club Secretary and has been with the club 21 years since 1994.
You can check out the Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/yogi2066/?fref=ts