On Friday evening the Emerald Isle Bowls Club was host to the Opening Ceremony of the 25th National Bowls Championships, sponsored once again by leading insurer Línea Directa.

Taking place in beautiful sunshine representatives of the competing clubs, provided another wonderful spectacle as they paraded in their club colours, across the rink with the venue decked out in National and Regional flags.

The ceremony was attended by senior representatives of the National Bowls Federation as well as sponsors Línea Directa, Kameeleon and the owners of The Emerald Isle and Greenlands Bowls Clubs.

Following the parade of clubs, umpires and Spanish International players, the owner of the Emerald Isle, Seamus Moran, handed the rink over to Spain National Director Bob Donnelly who then went on to welcome the bowlers and all of the guests and spectators to the championships. He gave particular thanks to the tournament sponsors Línea Directa who were supporting the championships for the fourth year. He said how delighted he was to have such a major international company endorsing the 2019 tournament.

He added that the only way that the relationship would continue in future years would be by bowlers and clubs supporting the sponsors, or at least offering them an opportunity to compete, when purchasing insurance or funeral cover.

A spokesman for Línea Directa wished all of the competitor’s success in their efforts, as everybody looked ahead to yet another successful tournament.

The National Anthem was played after which the club owners delivered the opening bowls of the 2019 tournament.

Players, spectators and sponsors then retired for refreshments, laid on by the Emerald Isle, and a period in which they were able to psyche out the opposition before the competition got underway on Saturday morning with the Mixed National Fours.

Today, Monday 13th May, the tournament moves across to Greenlands Bowls Club who are acting as co-hosts during the 2 weeks of the event in which, at least for the successful competitors, there follows an arduous fortnight of bowling, while for those not so lucky there is always the opportunity to renew old acquaintanceships and to make new friends.

The tournament runs until 25th May at both the Emerald Isle and Greenlands Bowls Clubs where entry is absolutely free with, on most days, the two sessions starting at 10am and 2pm.

The full schedule and daily results and updates can be found on the Spanish National Bowls facebook page.

With the rounds completed, the quarter finals, semi finals and finals will all be played at Greenland’s Bowls Club from 24th May onwards, with the presentations and the closing ceremony also taking place at Greenlands on 25th May.

The two Blue Ribbon events, the Gents and the Ladies Singles, get underway during the second week of the tournament with Mary Dyer and Ian Kenyon hoping to retain their titles, although they will both have to do so using the new round robin format which will be used throughout the competition.  

Although the first lawn bowls club was opened on the Costa del Sol in 1981, at the Las Palmeras hotel complex the sports didn’t really take off on the Costa Blanca until the mid-eighties when Javea Green opened, closely followed by Benitachell and El Cid. In Spain it was officially recognised as a national sport in 1986.

The first local club was La Siesta which hosted it’s first bowlers in 1988.

However, despite the recognition of the sport in 1986, it then took until 1994 before the first National Championships were held, at Miraflores Blows Club in Almeria. Over the next two weeks, at the Emerald Isle and Greenlands Bowls Clubs, the players are now competing in Tournament 25.