Brooke Park bowlers take to the digital highway

Brook Park Bowls Club President Wille Curran takes a throw as Barry Watkins, Jimmy Hagan, Seamus McColgan, Charlie O'Connell, Mickey Fahy and Tony Deacon look on.  (2303JB81)
Brook Park Bowls Club President Wille Curran takes a throw as Barry Watkins, Jimmy Hagan, Seamus McColgan, Charlie O'Connell, Mickey Fahy and Tony Deacon look on. (2303JB81)

Brooke Park Bowling Club is embracing the digital age.

The club, which was formed in 1984, boasts a diverse membership, from young teenagers right up to seasoned veterans in their early 80s.

The new season starts in the next few weeks and club officials have taken to the digital highway in the hope of attracting a band of new members to its pavilion.

Last month Brooke Park Bowling Club signed up to social networking site Twitter and it has also launched its own website.

Mickey Fahy is Brooke Park Bowling Club Match Secretary and he is also the vice-president of the Provincial Towns Bowling Association.

Mickey first joined the club in 1988. Bowling is something that’s common place in the Fahy household; Mickey’s son John Paul also plays.

“People have this idea that outdoor bowls is something for older people but I can tell you from first hand experience that it’s not - it’s a sport that can be enjoyed by everyone.

“I first started playing when I was a young man and my son also plays.”

The Brooke Park bowling green is located adjacent to the leisure centre’s car park.

It’s surrounded by a natural barrier of shrubs and a large hedge.

Once inside, the first thing that demands attention is the flawless surface. Even the most apathetic of sports fans would be tempted to practice their putting or play a bit of football but something tells me that the Brooke Park bowlers would have something to say about that.

Jimmy Hagan is club secretary and treasurer. Jimmy joined Brooke Park Bowling Club in 1987 and has never looked back since.

“The main reason why we have freshened things up at the club is because we want to attract new blood and show the people of Derry just how enjoyable outdoor bowls can be - especially on a warm summer’s day.”

Brooke Park Bowling Club may not be one of the biggest in the North of Ireland but it has certainly held its own throughout the years.

In 1986 it won the Highland Donaghy Cup and in 1988 it won promotion to the Senior League after winning the Junior League Division One.

The club’s ‘B’ team won the Highland Donaghy Cup in 1993 but unfortunately there would be no more trophies until 2001 when the club clinched both the Junior League Division One title and the Sutherland Cup.

Throughout the years the club has won various league and cup titles but perhaps its crowning glory is the fact that two former members, Eddie Curran and Stephen McPhillips, went on to represent Ireland at international level.

“I think it’s important to point out to young people that they can reach the heights of representing their country in bowls just the same way they can in every other sport,” said Jimmy.

“I think there are a few people still in Derry who have never heard of us and who don’t even know where the bowling green is - I think if more people knew about what happens here they would be keen to give it a try.”

The club competes against teams from all over Derry and parts of Tyrone. Their league matches usually take place onTuesday evenings and cup matches are scheduled for Saturday afternoons.

“If anyone wanted to give bowls a try I would say to them to come along and have a go. We have all the experience and expertise that they will need,” said Jimmy.

“If they decide at the end that it’s not for them then that’s fair enough but I am confident that if more people gave it a go we would see a spike in the number of people at the club.

“Hopefully we get a good summer this year because there’s nothing like standing out on the bowling green, playing bowls with your friends..”

For more information on Brooke Park Bowling Club or to find out how to join visit www.brookeparkbowls.co.uk or follow them on Twitter: @BrookeParkBC