England’s finest bowls players descend on Nottingham next week as the sport’s National Championships final stages arrive in the city.
And, in a double boost for the region’s sporting prospects, the tournament will take place after the terms for a new long-standing lease were agreed with Nottingham City Council.
Home to two historic football teams, one of the UK’s most popular ice hockey teams, the National Water Sports Centre and the Nature Valley Open Tennis Tournament, so the return of the prestigious bowls’ championships reaffirms Nottingham’s status as a sporting hub.
The country’s best bowls players in a number of age groups, including Long Eaton ace Simon Skelton, will be vying for the top spots at the Nottingham Indoor Bowls Centre (NIBC) on Beechdale Road for four weeks of competition starting on March 16.
The city has hosted the National Championships for over a decade and the NIBC’s board has recently agreed terms for a new 25-year lease to cement the venue’s position as the UK’s home of bowls.
Peter Thompson, chief executive of the English Indoor Bowling Association, which runs the tournament, said: “It is great news that Nottingham City Council has agreed terms to extend the lease with the NIBC.
“This decision means the club will now be able to improve even further its fantastic facilities and continue to host the National Championships, which is the pinnacle event in English bowls.
“What’s even more encouraging for Nottingham is that the city and venue now has the capacity and reassurance to potentially host international events in the future.”
John Mildren, a British bowls champion and patron of the NIBC, said around 2,000 people were expected to attend the National Championships.
“That is obviously good for the city’s economy,” he said. “As well as this, a new lease means the club will now be secure and the board are doing great things to grow the presence of bowls in Nottingham.
“The sport has a great community spirit and many of the club’s 400 members will be volunteering during the event to make sure things run smoothly.
“It is also incredibly inclusive. It is not just the ‘old person’s sport’ it is often perceived as. Both men and women play side-by-side and there are a number of different age group competitions, including under 25s categories.
“Disabled players and those overcoming mental and physical health issues also come along and play – and it is all these things that helped with the council deciding to renew.”
The club, which set up in 1981 and is one of the UK’s top eight bowls clubs, is home to several international players, including former Commonwealth Games gold medallist Simon Skelton, who was runner-up at the 2019 Singles World Championships.
Tickets for the National Championships are priced at £3 and can be purchased on the day of competition.
For more information on the event, visit http://www.eiba.co.uk/bss/competitions_list_finals.php
"It is great news that Nottingham City Council has agreed terms to extend the lease with the NIBC."
Peter Thompson, EIBA