Sandymount’s Railway Union Bowling Club hosts successful OPEN DAY for the local community
On the weekend of May 6th and 7th, Railway Union Bowling Club extended a warm welcome to the local community to come along and try out a new sport that is suitable for all ages and abilities.
The Club received an excellent response and many who experienced bowling for the first time, were delighted to have taken part and look forward to coming back again and joining the club to play on a regular basis throughout the summer months. Several people remarked that they did not realize that such a wonderful sporting facility was practically on their doorstep.
NF. Paul, tell me a little bit about the history of your club?
Paul. Railway Union Bowling Club, part of Railway Union Sports Club, is located on Park Avenue in Sandymount. Formed in 1904, the club is one of the five founding member clubs of the BLI (Bowling League of Ireland). The club has a full competition-size 6-rink bowling green, and a new pavilion has recently been completed.
NF. Tell us a little about the game?
Paul. The game is played on a bowling green which is typically divided into six parallel rinks. The basic goal is to place more bowls than the opponent near a smaller white target ball called ‘the jack’. Bowls do not naturally roll in a straight line as they are designed with a bias which is produced by the shape of the bowl which makes them travel in a curved path. The mastery of this is at the heart of the challenge of the game. Each bowl placed closer than those of the opponent counts as a point. The number of points required to win a game varies depending on competition rules. It is a simple sport to learn. Not so simple to master!
NF. When did you start?
Paul. Like many of us, I first watched bowls on TV when I was a kid. I was fascinated by the skills of these players and how there was far more strategy and consideration than it first appears. Since then, I had always wanted to try it…. however, I was 44 before I finally stepped foot on a bowling green in 2015!
I visited the club on a Tuesday night and by Wednesday evening was playing for Railway Union in a friendly match against CYM bowling club in Terenure. They were obviously stuck for numbers! Everyone though, including the opposition, were very generous with their tips and advice and I had a feeling I was going to enjoy this sport. My only regret is that I didn’t take it up a bit sooner!
NF. How often do you bowl?
Paul. The outdoor season runs from April to September. Between practice and matches, I would usually play 3 to 4 times a week. Practice is usually made up of coaching and group drills followed by what we call a ‘roll-up’ – which is basically a friendly game between club mates. Outside of club matches, the green is open to members seven days a week. We currently have a BLI Division One team, playing league matches on Saturday afternoons and a BLI Division 5 team playing on Monday evenings.
In winter we play short mat indoor bowls in the club hall. There is also a BLI Winter League which is played on artificial surfaces.
NF. Why should someone consider bowls?
Paul. There are lots of great reasons to play bowls People seeking differing experiences from joining the club. It can be a social game or a competitive game and often both at the same time! A lot of players come to bowls from other sports, so it can provide them with the opportunity to continue to enjoy the competitive and team aspects of sport. It can also just be a casual ‘roll -up’ with your pals on a sunny afternoon. The game of bowls allows people of all different levels, ages and gender to fully participate and enjoy the sport and games are often played in a mixed format. Importantly, any form of bowls can be good for your physical and mental health! It truly is a sport for all ages with competitors aged from under 10 to almost 100 currently playing in BLI/LBLI affiliated clubs! From elite competition to enjoying a barbecue and bowls on a summer evening, there really is something for everyone. So, really, why wouldn’t you try?
NF. Where do you sign up?
Paul. At Railway Union we welcome anyone who is curious about the sport. You can try for free at our open evenings which are held at 6.30pm on most Wednesdays throughout the summer. It is an easy sport to join in and you can enjoy it straight away. We have all the equipment needed, so just wear a pair of flat soled shoes or trainers. The club has a few different membership levels starting from just €60 per year.
The green is also available for corporate hire and events and we are currently seeking club sponsors with space available around the green for advertising posters and hoardings. We would be happy to talk to anyone interested in supporting their local club.
For more information drop down to the club or e-mail us
Follow our Facebook page @RailwayUnionBC