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Exciting times ahead for Falcon Bowls Club

Gloucestershire South > Sport > Bowls

Author: Roger Jackson, Posted: Thursday, 19th December 2019, 09:00

Falcon Bowls Club Falcon Bowls Club

With the Christmas and New Year festivities almost behind us, many people’s thoughts now turn to the 12 months ahead.

That’s certainly the case for Jon Ellis, who is one of those people who is eagerly looking forward to Spring 2020.

Those of a more optimistic nature will tell you that Spring is just around the corner and it’s easy to see why Jon is so keen to see the changing of the seasons because he is a longstanding outdoor bowls player.

These days he plays for Falcon Bowls Club in Painswick which just happens to be the second oldest bowls club in the country.

The outdoor season gets under way in April and runs until the middle or end of September so it is a major part of sporting life in Painswick – there are two clubs in the village – in the summer months.

“We’ve got about 60 members at Falcon,” said Jon, who joined the club with his wife Heather some six years ago. “That includes social members, we’ve got about 45 to 50 playing members.”

And those playing members are kept pretty busy.

“The men play in the South Cotswold League and we also have 25 friendlies a season,” said Jon. “The women also play friendly matches as well.”

Jon, who lives in Gloucester and first started playing bowls in 1988, is the club’s recruitment and development officer and he is pleased that the club have attracted some new members in recent times.

“We’ve offered free taster sessions and formed a youth section which has attracted younger people to the club,” said Jon. We’ve also used social media to share what we offer at the club

And while that shows plenty of initiative on the part of the club’s officers, 59-year-old Jon says there is more to the upturn in club numbers than just their hard work because he says the sport is “beginning to shed its old man’s game image”.

He said the changes are being driven by bowls clubs in Australia, adding: “The game is incredibly dynamic over there.”

So what are the changes that have been introduced?

“Coloured clothing and a myriad of multi-coloured bowls,” explained Jon. “When I started playing bowls you had to wear a collar and tie. And after the game you had to wear a blazer.

“Now the tie has gone, the blazer has gone and club shirts can be any colour you want.”

And what about the bowls?

“They can be as many colours as you like, sometimes when they’re rolling down a green they can almost hypnotise you,” laughed Jon.

It was the Australians, of course, who successfully introduced coloured clothing and white balls into cricket back in the late 70s – it was actually driven by one-time cricket rebel and TV mogul Kerry Packer – and it’s fair to say that it changed the face of that game forever.

Jon would love it if something similar were to happen to bowls in this country.

He knows that the sport has to move with the times even though Falcon Bowls Club has a very proud history.

In fact it’s a history that stretches all the way back to the 1500s as Jon explains.
“The club can trace its history back to the 16th century when the newly built Falcon Inn was opened,” he said.

“It was originally used for gentlemen to wind down after a day of hunting in the Cotswolds. The lord of the manor who built it also had a cock fighting pit built by its side.”

Former Falcon members include Tony Allcock, the many times world indoor and outdoor champion who also played for England on many occasions.

But while the club have a proud history, they know they have to keep looking forward too and with people like Jon Ellis around the future certainly looks bright.

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