Island Games: Doubts over golf and bowls for Shetland

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Meanwhile, the secretary of the Jersey Golf Union has said that a firm decision about whether they will send a team has yet to be made.

Derek Ferguson, the JBA secretary, said this morning that the Island Games committee approached the Indoor Bowling Association to see whether they would like to put a team together to compete next year.’They turned the invitation down and the outdoor bowlers have now been approached.

The men have said they are definitely interested, so we will be contacting the members very soon to see how many people respond.’Ferguson pointed out that Jersey bowlers travel regularly to compete and while the cost of travel and accommodation is a factor that will have to be addressed the players are used to paying a greater share of the cost themselves.’If we get enough players who are interested then a team will certainly go,’ Ferguson said, but he added that with the competition in Shetland being indoors the JBA feels that all they can do is ask their members if they want to compete.’Many of the islands involved in the Games don’t play bowls in their island – Rhodes, for example, have no bowling facilities at all – so we can’t progress to getting a team organised to play every two years.

And we don’t believe the Island Games is for our top players, who compete at Commonwealth and World level.

But we have a number of very good bowlers who would be delighted to have the opportunity to play for their Island, possibly the only opportunity they may have to do so.

I hope we’ll have a good response, we want to promote the game.’JGU secretary Rob Leader said: ‘At the moment the final decision is in the balance.

I wrote to the golfers to see who was interested and what sort of team we could get out.

We felt we wanted the strongest possible team to represent the Island but not all the golfers have got back to me.

We have worked out that each team member would have to pay £1,100 to compete in Shetland, which is a huge commitment before we even start, and some people will have difficulty raising that sort of money and getting the time off work or being away from their family for that time.’However, if the decision is made not to send the senior men, some of Jersey’s top junior players may get the opportunity to compete.Chairman of the trustees of the Vardon Trust, Trevor Gray, former Hampshire county captain and a Jersey player over three decades, said that the Island Games are exactly the sort of experience that lower-handicapped juniors would really benefit from, and that if cost were a problem then it may be that the Vardon Trust could assist.’The Trust was formed to help in just such an event,’ Gray said.

‘Any decision to fund them would have to come from the board of trustees, with application made through the usual channels – but I’m 99.9 per cent sure that any such application would be looked on favourably.’

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