Raising a generation of lawn bowlers

Daniel Lim

As a sport, lawn bowling can be thrilling not only to watch but also to participate in.

This was highlighted during a recent workshop at the Mumong Sports Complex, attended by teachers and students in the Belait District.

Lawn bowling is a target sport where the main goal is to roll biased balls called ‘bowls’ and try to get them as close as possible to a smaller ball called a ‘Jack’, normally placed at the farther end of a playing field called the bowling green, which is where the name of the sport derives from.

While games of lawn bowling are usually played outdoors, it is not unusual to see it being played indoors, featuring similar fields and equipment.

Lawn bowls games are not only dependent on the surrounding environment such as the condition of the bowling green, but also bowlers’ skills in fine tuning their aim to be the closest to the Jack. The best example was recently set by Nick Brett who, together with his partner Greg Harlow, threaded a small gap of six inches in the World Indoor Bowls Championship 2020.

The workshop aimed to raise interest in the sport as it also looked into the basics that professionals rely on, explained workshop committee member Haji Ahmadi bin Hassim.

“The Belait District Branch of the Youth and Sports Department held the workshop with the objective of promoting the sport among residents of the district,” he said.

The workshop, he hopes, will not only help raise interest but also serve as a platform to further disseminate information on the sport and attract interest in forming a team to represent the district to compete in national and international competitions.

This sentiment was shared by Brunei Darussalam National Lawn Bowls Association assistant lawn bowl instructor Lokman bin Haji Mohd Saleh.

“There are a variety of techniques and skills to lawn bowling, such as the way one throws the biased balls to where it’s played,” he said, adding that the difference of playing indoors and outdoors can have a significant impact on the overall atmosphere of the tournament.

As such, he said lawn bowling provides challenges similar to other target sports which are not only dependent on skills but also on the player’s ability to adapt to the changes in his or her environment, such as accounting for slight imperfections on the field and ascertaining the amount of weaving through the biased balls to get closer to the Jack.

“A strong mentality is also needed as it helps keep players composed as they strive to take the best shots that they can,” he added.

He expressed hope that the workshop would help raise interest in the sport to not only promote a healthy lifestyle, but also encourage more lawn bowling activities in the district.

Many participants at the workshop showed a keen interest in the sport, including Muhammad Sharul Nazmi bin Supri, a teacher from Perdana Wazir Secondary School, who shared his experience in joining the sport for the first time.

“I am very grateful to have taken part in this workshop, as it provided me with an insight into the sport of lawn bowling,” he said.

Muhammad Sharul Nazmi also noted how the skills and knowledge acquired have not only given him a better understanding of the sport, but have also enabled him to pass what he has learned to his students and thus, inspire the next generation of players.

“I also feel that it is a rare opportunity to explore the sport of lawn bowls, let alone be able to play and gain skills and knowledge,” he said.

He also expressed interest into seeking out opportunities in lawn bowls and other sporting activities, and hopes that the nation’s youth will be given the same opportunity.