Links

Click on the links below to find out more about the great sport of bowls - or to check on the latest news and results - in our area and beyond...


With one exception we are not listing any specific bowls shops or manufacturers. Every bowler will have their personal favourites.

World Bowls - the official website of the global federation for flat green bowls

Bowls England - the official website of our national association

Bowls Northamptonshire - the official website of our county association

BowlsClub.org - the largest online bowling directory, with contact details for almost all clubs and associations around the world - covers all bowling codes

Northampton-Area Triples Leagues: Men & Women - all the latest results for these popular evening competitions

Northants Players Archive - a complete list of every player who has represented our home county team, a vital resource for any bowls statto in the region 

Northamptonshire Indoor Bowling Association - first port of call for anyone in our region who wants to keep the bowling going all year round

Nationwide Bowler - official website of the UK's biggest selling bowls magazine - the latest issue is always available to read by the Abington clubhouse bar

The Sport of Bowls - detailed guide to the sport of bowls in all its myriad forms

Books on Bowls - dedicated to listing any and all bowls-themed media, including videos and DVDs - from David Bryant's famed instructionals to Mel Smith's 2003 comedy Blackball and Played in Britain's comprehensive study of the game, along with more obscure gems

Julian Haines Bowls Forum - the sport's most popular online discussion forum, containing all the latest gossip nationwide

Shot Bowl - premium bowls kit manufacturer, makers of Abington BC's official strip (below) under their Invictus label


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ABC YT - BOWLS MASTERCLASS WITH RICHARD CORSIE 


THERE'S AN argument that Richard Corsie was the singularly greatest natural talent that bowls has ever witnessed. And it's an argument with a good deal of merit. This is after all, a man who reached two world indoor singles finals while 'semi-retired' from the sport.

World-class standard bowling seemed to come so effortlessly to the proud Edinburgher, that even in the midst of what is ostensibly his own coaching video, interviewer Dougie Donnelly can be heard questioning how a prodigy like Corsie can relate to lesser talents. Corsie himself simply notes that he required an education in this beguiling game as much as anyone, just that his came a lot earlier in life than most other bowlers.

The presence of Donnelly - lead anchor of BBC Scotland's sports programming for many years, and known to a national audience for presenting coverage of minor sports like bowls (and also darts) - indicates that Corsie was an unlikely choice to front a video and required some coaxing from a seasoned media professional. Corsie was largely disinterested in the trappings of celebrity, no matter how minor. Even in 1993, the year of the VHS' release, when he had just become world indoor champion for a record-equalling third time, and he was consequently at the height of his fame.

Donnelly though has clearly spotted in Corsie a figure who can do wonders for bowls - if not Scottish sport as a whole - and taken him under his wing. Still an unusually fresh-faced figure by our sport's standards at 27 years of age, Corsie displays a healthy combination of insightful opinions and warm self-deprecation, while his dedication to improving the lot of bowls is nothing less than genuine. His pride at having attained a similar status to legends such as David Bryant and Tony Allcock shines through, and he proves his class off the green also by acknowledging the generosity of his employers, Royal Mail, for allowing him so much time away from his actual job in pursuit of what was essentially a slightly-more-lucrative-than-average hobby.

And Corsie deserves to stand alongside those names when it comes to the theorising of bowls as well. Even though it covers similar ground to the Bryant and Allcock efforts below, this video is in many ways the most interesting and informative watch of the lot. Corsie takes aim at several received wisdoms of match practice and drives them off the proverbial green, in the same manner that he won the 1993 world title with the greatest one-bowl take-out ever seen (which you can see in this video.)

'Bowls Masterclass with Richard Corsie' has everything you might wish for from a bowls video. Not only a useful guide on how to play the game no matter what level you're currently at, but also containing more than a few nostalgic snippets of a great era for bowls on British TV, (massive, super-sized Midland Bank logos and all), plus surrounding it all, an interesting profile of an overlooked, charming, self-effacing, good-humoured and above all rather sweet sporting genius.

In uploading the video - the main sections of which were filmed on the indoor carpet at the Fintry Sports & Recreation Club - to YouTube, it has been split into the three distinct sections of the presentation:

Part 1 - Beginner Level



Part 2 - Intermediate Level



Part 3 - Advanced Level



Postscript: Corsie's decision to quit bowls completely in 2003, when he was still only 37, having decided that an historic fourth world indoor singles title was beyond him, was not only unprecedented, but a huge blow to the game's standing. If he should ever give in to nostalgia and respond to the call of the turf again, it will a very lucky club who benefits from his presence.

ABC YT - TONY ALLCOCK'S ART OF BOWLS


THE NEXT great find of our trip into obscure/forgotten VHS bowling lore is this. Similar to our first, it involves one of the game's legends giving something back to the game and turning his keen eye to the instructional. If David Bryant remains the most famous player of the sport, Tony Allcock does not trail far behind in the public recognition stakes.

Allcock was at the forefront of the initial post-Bryant generation of bowlers who dominated the game through the 1980s and 90s. Perhaps most interestingly though, he has always expressed a preference of the team game formats over singles play, and his great appreciation is in the socialising aspect of bowls as much as the sporting contest.

All of which makes him the ideal figurehead of the game, which he now performs as president of our national association Bowls England. A world class talent with a deep appreciation of the grassroots, a phenomenal but never intimidating presence.

There are very few figures who have given as much to bowls in modern times as Tony Allcock and so it seems only natural that when he set out to make his own video, he went all out and made a series of four! Each covers a range of aspects about playing the game, including the potential for bowls to be a true 'People's Game' with age, race and gender shown to be no barrier to competition.

In fact, Allcock believes in this so much he feels he shouldn't make these points alone. So each video features a special guest. One of which is Brian Duncan, a star of that other, less couth form of bowls popular in those poor, grim places up North - crown green. Now, if two different codes of a sport can put their differences aside and express a shared love for a game, then surely anything is possible...

Admittedly, Allcock is not as natural in front of the cameras as Bryant, but anyone would do well to pay attention to what he and his guests have to say. Enjoy!

Vol. 1 - Basics



Vol. 2 - Bowling the Jack



Vol. 3 - Putting It All Together



Vol 4. - Team Spirit



ABC YT - BOWLS WITH BRYANT 


SO, ABINGTON BC has a YouTube account. While it doesn't feature anything about the club itself as of yet, subscribers are promised a few bowls-themed curiosities that have fallen into our lap, otherwise destined to be neglected.

Beginning then, as most people interested in the game do, with the man who remains the most recalled figure of English bowling outside of Francis Drake. Even though it's been nearly 30 years since David Bryant's last world championship success, his status as the leading talent during the sport's most recent and greatest peak of public interest leaves him occupying a degree of recognition above most modern players.

But it wasn't just his phenomenal track record that made him a cult hero. Amongst his eccentricities, he was one of the few sporting figures to win the (now-defunct) Pipe Smoker of the Year Award, with his perfectly arched pipe as iconic a sporting adornment in the 1970s and 80s as John McEnroe's headband or Dennis Taylor's glasses. For anyone interested in taking up bowls themselves though, what caught the eye was the way he approached the game as much as the results he got.

Outsiders saw his style as peculiarly aggressive, but bowlers of all stripes appreciated the authority and intelligence with which he surveyed this seemingly simple sport.  It's not often in sport that the greatest players are also amongst the most respected analysts, but bowls is a game that affords the player time to think and perhaps it was only natural that it should have been dominated by the man who most forensically examined it. (And also no surprise that Bryant's day job was school master.)

All of which is where this first video comes in. Bryant's writing on the game was devoured, but the video version remains less seen. So here it is. Made in 1991 at the David Bryant Bowling Centre in Prestatyn, the video also features another familiar face - and voice - of bowls, David Rhys-Jones. For many years a regular team-mate of Bryant's at all levels but perhaps best remembered as the BBC's lead commentator on bowls from the late 1970s until the early 2000s:


*David Bryant played at Abington as part of an EBA select team on a handful of occasions. Most notable was the diamond anniversary match in 1982 where in one grainy photograph he can be seen examining two woods - touching the jack at front and back - from a young lead called Jonathan Brown, now the record-holder for most club championships. Bryant would have found in Abington, especially at that time, a club that held itself to the similarly high standards as he did. Not that any of our members have been on quite his level of ability but 1982 was toward the tail end of an era when the club was of a similar ranking in Northamptonshire as Bryant's club at Clevedon is down in Somerset.