Buckhaven Bowling Club: Back from the brink - and more successful than ever

Andy Harper, David Guild & Brian Napier. Picture by George McLuskie
Andy Harper, David Guild & Brian Napier. Picture by George McLuskie
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Just 18 months ago, Buckhaven Bowling Club looked like it may soon be down and out.

Facing a rapidly aging membership and virtually no youth representation, a major overhaul was needed if the club had any chance of survival.

Thanks to the determination of the committee, led by secretary David Duffy, that has all but been achieved.

The club has managed to turn its fortunes around and now has one of the highest youth memberships of any local club in the area.

“About two years ago, the club was in dire straits. Most of the members were 70+ agewise, and we only had three junior players,” said David.

“But now, we have managed to bring that up to 36 juniors and that’s pure brilliant.”

David makes clear that it wasn’t just one thing which brought about the club’s success.

“Obviously, some of the older members were harder to convince, but having the committee on board helped us to bring in the changes.

“We did a lot of work out at the primary schools too. We went to Buckhaven, Aberhill and Denbeath to try to encourage them to try lawn bowling, and that has been one of the biggest things for us.”

And just like the mouse which got the cheese, as the number of juniors continues to increase, so to does the adult section thanks to interested parents who see the benefits of the sport.

“Bowls is such a nice and easy sport to get into,” said David. “A lot of the mums and dads who would come down to watch their kids play are buying in to it now as well and becoming members. There’s a family value that has been missing from clubs for a long, long time, but we are getting that back here at Buckhaven.”

Not only is the membership growing, the number of coaches and the quality of coaching at the club is getting better too.

Before initiatives were put in place, the club had just one coach. That number has now grown to eight, and David was actually awarded Sportscotland Coaching Volunteer of the Year for Tayside and Fife in 2014.

Keen to boost the profile of Buckhaven even more, David travels to other clubs and organisations to tell the tale of their success, including Leven Golfing Society and Positive Coaching Scotland.

And Buckhaven has even been highlighted as a focus club by Bowls Scotland, the national governing body for bowls in Scotland.

Working hard to appeal to an even wider audience, the club was delighted when it was awarded £4,500 from Fife Council and £7,500 from Awards For All, which has now enabled them to renovate the outdoor space and install ramps and easy access both onto the green and into the bowling club itself.

“I’m very impressed with the new ramps, they are looking superb,” said David. “This is a major thing for us - not only will they help disabled members, but also a lot of our older members too.

“Anyone out there who has a disability, and who is finding it hard to get into sport, I’d urge them to try bowls as it’s not too strenous and gets you out in the fresh air.”

Buckhaven Bowling Club will be holding a Family Fun Day on April 26, 2.00-4.00 p.m. for all existing members and anyone who might be interested in findng out a bit more about the club.

“We held our first family day in 2014 and it was a huge success,” said David. “Obviously we are keen to keep the 36 juniors that we currently have and take it from there, so anyone who wants to know more about Buckhaven can come on that day.”

The junior section, for children six-17, is free to join and they play on Saturday’s and Sunday’s from 10.00-11.30a.m., May to September.

The juniors receive their own polo shirt with their name and club logo and have an end of season disco where trophies are presented.

For more, go to www.buckhaven
bowlingclub.org.uk