On Wednesday 27th July we hosted Chesham Pioneers for a 2 rink mixed triples friendly match.
Nothing unusual in this, unless you are aware that Chesham Pioneers is a bowling club whose members suffer a range of visual disabilities. We, in our club, are indeed aware of this because of our own UK Blind Bowling Championship winner, Sarah Marshall, who was once a member of Chesham Pioneers, but joined us to improve her skills by playing regularly with, and against, sighted bowlers.
The afternoon was a tremendous success. The Pioneers displayed a level of skill far beyond that which ‘normally sighted’ bowlers would believe. Suffice to say that on a number of ends, the Pioneers’ play left us wondering how they could be be so good!!. The camaraderie was excellent – and the the home bowlers took great benefit from the information being relayed from the head to the mat by the Directors/Guides via walkie-talkie radios – perhaps if we hadn’t listened in then we might not have been able to sneak a small advantage!!!! The result did not matter; only the pleasure it brought to all present – definitely a case of ‘The taking part that counts’.
Afterwards we enjoyed excellent hospitality in our clubhouse, which I hoped showed how much, as a community spirited club committed to providing bowling opportunities for disabled bowlers, we value matches like these. Indeed on Wednesday August 24th we are playing a match against a Disability Bowls England team that we hope will demonstrate further our commitment in this area.
This post writer is looking forward very much to next season’s match when, if selected, he can renew acquaintances forged during Wednesday’s bright & sunny afternoon. Good luck and best wishes to Chesham Pioneers and the opportunities and pleasure that they afford to their members.