Visually Impaired Bowlers

 

2022

Sadly George Gallacher, who has been involved with the Visually Impaired group from its inception in October 2016, as coach, their contact with VI Scotland, and  representative on the Howie Committee, has decided the time is right to step down.  

Fondly remembered for his unwavering support, his ever presence at their sessions, and for his jokes (some were even funny!), he will be sorely missed.  Happy retirement, George!

Our Visually Impaired bowlers have now decamped to the Ayr Indoor Bowling Club.  The VI bowlers, Bennett Ward, Chris Skinner, Paul Sharp, John McKay and Bobby Ferguson meet up each Wednesday and Friday, with two sighted helpers – Peter Conway, Bennett’s brother-in-law, and Isobel Skinner, Chris’s wife, acting as Directors.  Rinks are drawn at random, making sure that the two sighted players are in opposite sides to guide their team mates.

On 7th January, Bennett, Peter, and Paul took an early lead over John, Isobel and Chris, holding this lead until the final stages, when they were dramatically pulled back,  and eventually settling for a 9-9 share of the spoils!

The 14th January, encounter saw John McKay, Bennett Ward and Peter Conway run out convincing winners 16-3 over Isobel, husband Chris, and Paul.  John showed the value of excellent leading,  which prevented the opposition from scoring until the very last end.
 
An exciting VI match on 21st January saw John, Bennett and Isobel taking on Peter, Chris and Paul. It finished 5-5 and a “no shot” was declared at the final end between John’s and Paul’s bowls. Talk about a tight match!
 
On the 28th January, Peter, Paul and (no, not Mary but Bennett!) left their opponents ‘blowing in the wind’ demolishing John, Chris and Isobel 16-3. In truth, it could have been worse as they were often lying 5 or 6 shots before a saving bowl came in.
 
On 4th February, it was a Pairs (Chris Skinner and Peter Conway) v Triples (Bennett award, Isobel Skinner and Paul Sharp).  Peter and Chris got off to a strong start and were leading 13-2, when, as is often the case, they got stuck and were pulled back to 13-7 before they were saved by the session bell!
 
Having taken the week off before the VI Fours tournament, the league resumed on the 18th February.  New member Wilson McCullagh replaced Peter Conway, and although not having played for 30 years and having wide swinging bowls, played well in a team with Bennett and man of the match, Chris Skinner.  So how come they were beaten 15-4? Well they were playing a team of four – John McKay, Isobel Skinner, Paul Sharp and Lady Luck.  Well, that’s Bennett’s story anyway!
 
COVID wreaked havoc before the match on the 25th February with both Bennett and Peter testing positive earlier in the week.  But Isobel took charge teaming up with Paul and Wilson against the pairing of John and Chris, recording a 12-9 win in a close fought and enjoyable encounter.
 
With Bennett still isolating and Paul Sharp on holiday, the match on 4th March was a Pairs, with Isobel and John winning 13-2 against Chris and Wilson.
 
With Paul in Benidorm, 11th March was a four v three with Bennett, Wilson, John and Peter winning 15-7 over Isobel, Chris and new helper Colin Carmichael.  After taking a 12-0 lead, the four faltered and were pegged back to 12-7, before regaining their composure and closing out their win with two hard fought final ends.
 
18th March saw a fun game of Triples with Bennett, John and Peter finishing strongly to secure a 9-2 win over Paul, Wilson and Colin.
 
24th March saw a real tanking for Bennett, Chris and Isobel losing by an incredible 26 shots!  Well done to the pairing of Paul and Peter. 
 
April Fools Day saw the joke played on a strong team line up of Bennett, John, Paul and Colin who lost 10-4 to Chris, Isobel, Peter and Wilson.  A fine win!
 
In the penultimate session on 8th April before the move to outdoors, Bennett and Peter romped home 16-2 against John, Colin and Paul.  The first four ends were tight with honours even at 2-2 but then the floodgates opened. It is all set for a thrilling finale with Bennett and John tied on 17 points and Paul lurking on 14, knowing that a 4 shot victory over John could give him the title.
 
In their league match before moving outdoors the winner was decided in an exciting finale when Paul Sharp won by a single  shot from Bennett Ward and John McKay, after all three had tied in the number of points earned in the 14 match campaign. This win was  in no small measure due to Paul’s outstanding draw to the jack through the narrowest of gaps towards the end of his final game.
 
 

VIS  INDOOR LEAGUE 2022 FINAL STANDINGS

 
   

Won

Drew

Lost

Pts

BENNETT WARD

 12

   5

   2

   5

  17

SHOTS

 +2

0

 

     
TOTAL     SHOTS    +2  

CHRIS SKINNER

  11

   2

   2

    7  

  8

 

SHOTS

– 73        
TOTAL     SHOTS    -79  

ISOBEL SKINNER

  11

  4

  2

  5

  14

SHOTS

       

-35

TOTAL     SHOTS    -41  

JOHN McKAY

  12

  5

    2

  5

  17

SHOTS

       

+10

      SHOTS   +10  

PAUL SHARP

  12

  5

  2

  5

   17

SHOTS

       

+11

TOTAL           +11  

PETER CONWAY

  10

  8

   2

   0

  26

SHOTS

       

+89

WILSON MCCULLAGH

  5    3    0    3    12
        -8  
SHOTS         -12

3 POINTS FOR A WIN 

1 POINT FOR A DRAW

ALL GAMES BAR ONE COUNT TOWARD FINAL SCORE (e.g. if total games played is 17 then the first 16 games played count to final total)

The lads were in competitive action on 12th February at Glasgow Indoor Bowling Club when they took on around 10 teams of the very best visually impaired bowlers from all over Scotland in a long standing Fours event. As a measure of the standard, one has competed in the Commonwealth games as a former sighted bowler.
 
The Visually Impaired bowlers won one out of their three games  losing only to the eventual runners up Abbeyview and third placed Three Towns.  Their win came in the final game against East Kilbride when an inspired bowl from skip Paul Sharp pushed out their opponent’s shot bowl which was inches from the jack to take the tie 5-4. 
 

2020/2021

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Visually impaired bowlers using string to guide their bowls.  

 

2019

n Saturday 14th March 2019. our Visually Impaired bowlers were in competitive action at Glasgow Indoor Bowling Club, with  lead John  McKay, 2nd Bennett Ward, 3rd Paul Sharp and skip, “guest star”  Sharon Moncrieff from Cumbernauld as a  last minute replacement.

They won their first game against Abbeyview, 10-6, but lost to eventual tournament winners Renfrew 18-3.  Their third game saw them lose 13-4 to C & Kelvin.

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John, Bennett,  Sharon and Paul

P1020031

John McKay,  Bennett Ward and Paul Sharp

The Visually Impaired club is growing from strength to strength and now boasts 7 members.   If you know of any visually impaired person looking to learn a new skill and to make new friends, the club meet at the Ambassador every Wednesday at one o’clock.

On Saturday,  7th December 2019 ,  four of our blind bowlers cmpeted in a national Balloted Pairs Competition at Glasgow Indoor Bowling Club.  This prestigious event is held in Glasgow every December and attracts visually impaired bowlers from as far as Aberdeen and the Borders.  While there is an atmosphere of Christmas goodwill in the air, be assured that it IS competitive!

Joining “old hands” Bennett Ward and John McKay, were new members Paul Sharp and Chris Skinner and Directors, George Gallacher,  Jim Johnstone and Isobel Skinner.

What do W G Grace and Bennett Ward have in common?  There is a clue in the Bowling Factoids page, if you want to give yourself a clue.

The answer?  Both have represented their country at bowls and another sport.  WG’s other sport was (of course) cricket.   Bennett’s other sport is golf. And he was one of the successful Scottish blind bowlers who took on and defeated the mighty England 10.5 to 9.5 in a Ryder Cup type format, and on their own patch!

John McKay beat Bennett in the Visually Impaired Singles Championship 7-5 in a high quality 8 end final.  They were tied 5-5 with John just winning out in a pulsating last end.

John also won the VI Pairs with Colin Carmichael as his visual partner. Maybe John will be our next internationalist!

Our brave band of blind bowlers are  meeting every week on Fridays at one o’clock at the Ambassador Indoor Bowling Club.

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If you fancy having a go, email us at prestwickhowiebowlingclub@gmail.com

Chris, Paul, Bennett and John in their new Ayr IBC shirts
A string is used as a tactile aid to guide the visually impaired bowler to the centre of the rink