Bowls for the blind and partially sighted
Bowls is very suitable for totally blind and partially sighted players, as only some very minor adaptations need to be made. The visually impaired bowler can play singles, pairs, triples or in a team of four. There is no reason why VI bowlers can’t play against fully sighted players and they often do. It is a sport for people of all ages.
Although this skilful and fascinating game has been around for centuries, it was not until 1959 that the bowls started rolling for the blind, in Scotland.
Today, we use the ‘clock method’. The ‘marker’, who is stationed beyond the ‘jack’, indicates to those at the mat end, at what angle and distance from the ‘jack’ the bowl has come to rest. The ‘jack’ is the centre of the clock. So, six o’clock would be in front and twelve o’clock behind, with all other positions being relative to the clock. From the information given by the ‘marker’ the player can build up a mental picture of the ‘head’ (area around the jack), knowing exactly the position of each bowl.
The only small concession made to blind players is that a fine white centre string runs under the mat and is fixed at both ends. This is to help the bowler to judge the angle for the amount of green required.
These minor variations enable blind and sighted people to play together as they do not alter in any way the basic game (or the Bowls England rules).
Metro has helped to send many of our bowlers to the tournaments arranged all around England, the UK and abroad, through paying tournament fees; and subsidising accommodation, travel and kit.
On an annual basis, Metro bowlers undertake several collection days at major London mainline stations. These collections have contributed between £5k and £6k to the Metro coffers each year.
From the beginning of May until the end of September we play out-doors on grass, then for the rest of the year we play in-doors on carpet.
Want to know more?
If anyone is tempted to join us or just wants to know more about the game, why not get in touch with Eric Gallacher