Terry Red­head learns all about bowls from a for­mer world cham­pion

Let's Talk - - Contents - For fur­ther in­for­ma­tion about bowls ex­pe­ri­ences at Pot­ters Re­sort, and other breaks, call 0333 320 7497 or see the web­site: www.pot­ter­shol­i­days.com

Terry Red­head has al­ways loved sport of all kinds. So there was no stop­ping him when the chance to have a mas­ter class in bowls with for­mer world cham­pion Greg Har­low at Pot­ters Re­sort arose. Here’s what hap­pened.

For some­one who has adored, rel­ished and thrived on sport for as long as I could catch a ball, meet­ing a for­mer world cham­pion is al­ways a thrill.

To have a ‘mas­ter class’ with some­one who has reached the pin­na­cle of their sport, is an even greater thrill.

So it was that I donned the train­ers and stepped on to one of the nu­mer­ous in­door bowls rinks at Pot­ters Re­sort, in Hop­ton, be­tween Great Yar­mouth and Low­est­oft, with Greg Har­low, its bowls am­bas­sador.

I was a com­plete be­gin­ner but re­garded my­self as some­one who could take in­struc­tion and was pre­pared to learn. Swiftly Greg went through the ba­sics. Hav­ing sorted the cor­rect weight and size of my woods, he gave me a tu­to­rial in ac­tu­ally hold­ing a wood prop­erly, only rais­ing an eye­brow when dis­cov­er­ing that I was one of those ‘awk­ward’ left-han­ders.

“No prob­lem, it just means I’ve got to do ev­ery­thing the wrong way round,” he laughed.

After ex­plain­ing where to stand, in which di­rec­tion to point my feet and how to de­liver my wood as smoothly as pos­si­ble, it was time to have a go.

Greg set the jack, the tar­get, at around 23 me­tres, mean­ing that was a ‘short jack’ as it was pos­si­ble to have it more than 30 me­tres away.

I fol­lowed my in­struc­tions to a tee. I con­cen­trated so hard. The de­liv­ery was good and the fore­hand curled its way to­wards the jack and ac­tu­ally fin­ished re­spectably close. Be­gin­ner’s luck.

When I switched to the backhand, it was equally re­spectable and I felt pleased to draw some words of ap­pre­ci­a­tion from Greg, some­one so re­spected in the sport.

“For a com­plete be­gin­ner, that was ex­cep­tional,” he de­cided, and I felt my­self glow­ing with pride at the same time as won­der­ing how I was go­ing to main­tain that ini­tial stan­dard.

Now I fared quite well un­til Greg de­cided we should try a longer jack, some 30 me­tres away.

“You have got woods within a

me­tre of the jack and for a starter that’s ex­cel­lent,” said Greg. “In our events, be­ing too strong or too short by as lit­tle as an inch can mean the dif­fer­ence be­tween win­ning and los­ing,” he added, sim­ply putting into per­spec­tive what top-level sports­men had to achieve.

Any thoughts that I could ac­tu­ally play were quickly dis­pelled by a longer jack.

I strug­gled. Not be­cause I couldn’t de­liver a wood that far but be­cause the fur­ther away the jack was, the more dif­fi­cult it was to as­sume con­trol.

I landed a cou­ple of woods in the ‘ditch’ around the ex­tremes of the ‘green’. “Well what do you ex­pect from a Fen boy?” I joked. “We can’t keep out of ditches and dykes!”

Cor­rect­ing the first shot was tough and after go­ing at least three me­tres past the jack, in­evitably the next de­liv­ery was short. For me, that was ev­i­dence to prove that I was a genuine be­gin­ner!

Fi­nally, at the end of our mas­ter class, Greg sug­gested I tried ‘firing’. As he ex­plained, if you are in a des­per­ate po­si­tion and have the fi­nal bowl, of­ten the only op­tion is to go di­rectly at the jack with the aim of knock­ing it into the ditch.

Stand­ing on the mat some 30 me­tres away, that lit­tle jack looked more than a mile in the dis­tance.

After four at­tempts I ac­tu­ally hit it and, again, felt I had achieved all I could as a to­tal novice, thanks to my ex­pert coach.

The ex­pe­ri­ence was ter­rific. I thor­oughly en­joyed my les­son, de­liv­ered with in­cred­i­ble knowl­edge and per­cep­tion, kind­ness and hu­mour.

I’ll be cheer­ing on Greg when I next get the chance to see him in ac­tion, hope­fully in next sea­son’s world cham­pi­onships at Pot­ters Re­sort.

Pic­tures: Pot­ters Re­sort

Let’s Talk co- edi­tor Terry Red­head con­cen­trates on his de­liv­ery after hav­ing some ex­cel­lent tu­ition from for­mer world cham­pion Greg Har­low.

There are a vast ar­ray of bowls from which to se­lect the ones most suit­able for you.

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