Disability Bowling

 

We are pleased to offer opportunities for bowling to players with infirmities or disabilities. We have aids such as bowling arms (see the photo below) to assist those those who have difficulty in bending to deliver their woods. Part of our award for being named 2015 Bowls England National Club of the Year was a selection of playing equipment. We were able to negotiate with Bowls England to substitute some of the equipment normally awarded with disability bowling aids.

We are able to access the bowling green from the surrounding walkways by sloping ramps at each corner. This allows easier access for wheelchair bowlers. Additionally wheelchair bowlers will usually bowl on either of the outside rinks of the green to allow them to use the extra space alongside these rinks to facilitate their movement from end to end during play. There is ramp access into the clubhouse, so wheelchair users are not excluded from enjoying themselves after the rigours of competition.

The club is extremely pleased and proud to have Sarah Marshall as a member. Sarah is classified as a visually impaired bowler and her daily life is assisted by her guide dog, Willow, who will often be seen at the club lying patiently waiting her owner’s match to finish.

Sarah is a National Champion in Class B1 of Visually Impaired bowling, a bronze medalist in the World Disability Games held in New Zealand in 2015 and a world champion at the 2017 World Blind Bowling Championships in South Africa. That achievement was also down to the support she received not only from members with our club but also from members of the Hertfordshire Bowling Community. Particular mention needs to be made of her director Linda Ralphs and everyone who helped raise the money so that she could be here. Special thanks to Brian Ralphs for all he has done and his images of the event; click to see each of his five albums – Part 1; Part 2; Part 3Part 4 & Part 5 (the England team awards).  More info can be found here.

She participates in Club, District & County matches and competitions  against sighted players; indeed in 2017 Sarah was selected as a member of the Hertfordshire Ladies 2017 Johns Trophy squad to play in the National Competition; the first blind bowler to play for Hertfordshire in this competition – a tremendous achievement against some of the best sighted Ladies bowlers in the country!

Sarah’s accuracy and precision are something to be seen to be believed. Below is a short video of her in action – how sighted bowlers wish they could put their woods on to the jack like that!

The Club hosted a 6 rink Triples match against a Disability Bowls England team on Wednesday 24th August 2016.  The Disability Bowls England team included players with a wide range of disabilities, some of whom had travelled from places afar such as Torquay , Brighton, Warwick and Canvey Island as well as slightly nearer places such as St. Albans and Milton Keynes, such was their keeness to take part in a ‘bowls match’. According to Brian Ralphs, our Mens Captain, ‘Berkhamsted just ‘squeaked’ the win, but that was incidental – it was a most enjoyable day all round and we hope that this could become an Annual Match’. Brian was pleased he had ordered the sun for the day, but the players wished he had turned the temperature dial down a little!!!!!

Images of the day can be viewed by clicking here.

Our efforts in seeking to promote the playing of disability bowls has resulted in the club winning the Dacorum Disability Sports Trophy in both 2014 and 2015 and to Sarah Marshall in 2017; this trophy is awarded annually for contribution to Disabled Sport in the Borough.

 

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