Essex bowls ace eyes new format for the sport

England bowls ace Edward Morris believes sport must diversify to thrive long-term

By Joe Harvey

ESSEX bowls ace Edward Morris says the sport must follow in the fun-fuelled footsteps of Australia to catapult its popularity in Britain to greater heights.
While competing for England at last years' World Bowls Championships in the Gold Coast, the 36-year-old saw first-hand how the country has embraced bowls.
With a made-for-television competition more akin to Premier League Darts or short-form cricket - including professional players, colourful shirts, walkout music and big personalities - it is something that Morris believes could be the blueprint for bowls in the UK.
"Australia have this concept called the Bowls Premier League," Morris said.
"There are disco lights, people having drinks, giving it plenty of verbal during the game and playing short matches.
"That, to me, is more watchable than the product we produce. We can learn a lot from that.
“They are a sports mad country and if you play bowls there, there is no stigma whatsoever.
"If you are good at it, you are revered as a top class bowler. Here, in bowls circles you are, but beyond that you don’t get much for being a good bowler."
Morris was speaking ahead of Bowls' Big Weekend, taking place between 24-27 May and a national project to get more people playing the sport.
Over 700 clubs are opening their doors to offer free taster sessions to the public with the aim of growing the sport of bowls.
Employed full-time by Essex County Bowling Club as their office manager, Morris is acutely aware of the sport's need to attract new participants in order to thrive long-term and believes the Bowls England initiative can aid in that objective.
"When I see it marketed as a sort for all by Bowls England, I certainly see that from my end," Morris said.
"People play in wheelchairs, we have a member that has only just stopped playing at 102 and our youngest member is eight.
"I think there is so many positive aspects of the game that it needs to get out to the wider public and crash through that stereotype of it only being for older people and boring.
"We are doing everything we can to get the new blood in. A lot of those people as well, the really encouraging thing is that a lot of the demographic of those people that have joined is quite young.
"It’s a slight demographic shift over the past couple of years."
To find your nearest participating club and sign up for a free session go to