VIDEO: Horsham IBC hosts next generation of bowls talent

The next generation of bowlers was on display as Horsham IBC hosted the Sussex Finals of the English Bowls Youth Development Scheme.

The pick of the county’s emerging talent competed in the finals on Saturday for the right to appear in the South of England finals, which Horsham will also host later this year.

A total of 32 juniors took part, with seven of those from the host club.

Tom Gator, of Bexhill club Egerton Park, was the pick of the bowlers in the finals, top-scoring after a round-robin tournament in the morning was followed by a skills and technique session in the afternoon.

Horsham IBC’s top competitor was 12-year-old Sam Willis, who finished 14th.

His teammates in the finals were Archie Batten, 10, Regan Read-Jones, 9, Daniel Brown, 12, Daniel Smith, 8, Isaac Read-Jones, 12 and Albert Read-Jones, 8.

Unfortunately, Horsham’s eighth junior member Chris Miles missed out with an ear infection.

It was the first year that Horsham entered bowlers, after their junior section was established a little over 12 months ago.

And club chairman Geoff Kentish, who co-ordinates the junior section with Heather Grant, says it is only a matter of time before Horsham IBC are competing for honours.

“The way it is going, give us until next year and we hope to be up towards the top end,” he said.

“I was very pleased with the performance considering the short time they have been bowling compared to some of the others.”

The junior section at Horsham IBC is gathering momentum, with eight regulars attending coaching on a Saturday and regular talks with schools and Scout groups.

Geoff added: “We are always looking for new juniors. We did a lot of work last year, and it is the future of bowls. Although everyone thinks it’s something that can wait until they are retired, if you watched the World Indoor Finals last week, the top guys were under 30.

“The children are very enthusiastic about, it they are so competitive.

Bowls is also ideal if you do not like football or rugby.

“It’s very competitive and a lot more tactical than you think.”

Horsham IBC’s junior sessions, for eight to 18-year-olds, are held at Horsham IBC, next to Broadbridge Heath Leisure Centre off Wickhurst Lane , from 10am to 11.30am every Saturday.