Manx Youth Games

Report by Mark Kneen

Crown Green Bowls featured in the Manx Youth Games for the first time in the sports history on Saturday 18th May with 50 children taking part on the day. Unfortunately due to the weather the programme had to be moved inside to the bowls hall at the NSC, and whilst this is not ideal unlike a lot of sports we are so lucky to have a facility like this that we were able to use as a contingency – and if I am honest it was great as the atmosphere inside the NSC on the day was, quite frankly, electrifying.

Some of the children that took part have not been able to compete in the Games before as they were unable to find a sport suitable due to conditions that they may have, their fitness levels or just one that they felt they could master so as well as this being a first for bowls it was also a first for some of them, which is magical. The format had to be slightly adjusted on the day as we had planned to use two greens at Nobles Park however coordinator Glynn Hargraves and his team thought on their feet brilliantly changing the schedule as they went along to suit the new venue. All of the competitors took part in some singles games as well as competing over various obstacles to amass points for their regions.

The standard of bowling on the day was exceptional considering it was the first time most of the children have ever played on the artificial indoor surface, it cannot be overstated enough how different this is to the outdoor greens they have practiced on and the way they adapted to their new surroundings over the day was simply mesmerising. They were magnificent. I think what worked exceptionally well is that as well as ensuring there was an element of competition the main focus was on fun and this shone through on the day as all of the children left with smiles on their faces, at one time all of the parents got involved and had a go which was certainly one of the highlights of the day, and I am sure they now appreciate that bowls isn’t as easy as their talented children made it look.

The overriding message to be taken away is that Crown Green Bowls in not an old persons game, it is a sport for all ages and we are now in the age of the Manx Youth Games. It is very fitting that the next day coordinator Glynn Hargraves retained his Manx Championship and that this current champion is helping spearhead an initiative that will almost certainly be the birthplace for the champions of the future.

As development officer for the sport it is hard to put into words how important this initiative is for us and whilst it might not be the most important development for the sport in my lifetime it is certainly in the top 1