At 27 years old, Rory Grundison might not seem like your stereotypical bowling club president, but with fresh ideas and an enthusiasm to go with it, this ‘young upstart’ might just have what it takes to realise his vision for Rosslyn Bowling Club.
It is universally accepted that the sport suffers from an image problem, “a stigma is attached to it,” Rory concedes. “A lot of people think it is an old person’s game but it is not at all.”
When thinking about bowls, pensioners dressed in white and playing at a leisurely pace on a Sunday afternoon is what usually springs to minds for most people, but having played bowls since the age of 12 Rory is part of a new generation hoping to help the sport expand and entice more younger players to take up the game in Midlothian and further afield.
He said: “We have got a chance here to grow. It’s a great sport which you can play with your peers but it is also accessible to all ages. My grandad used to play indoors and he took me every Saturday when I was eight years old.
“It wasn’t until I was 12 I started playing outdoor. Older clubs were quite set in their ways about letting young people join but that is something that we are trying to get rid off.
“It’s the competitive aspect which drew me in. Once you get the basics it’s about getting better and better – you want to improve. I also seen it as a chance when I was younger to represent my country. If you want to play football your chances are pretty low but if you stick with bowls there’s more opportunity to get that.”
Although playing for Scotland wasn’t on the list of his achievements, 2017 was a big year for Rory. Not only did he take over the presidential role from Bob Crighton in June which he admits is “unusual” for his age but he also made the two main singles finals and won the Club Championship.
However, there’s a bigger goal that he is aiming for and that is looking to build on the work done by Bob and past presidents Chris Spence and Raymond Richford in helping to secure the long-term future of the club.
Rory said: “We’re looking to do a massive recruitment drive. We had a Try Bowls and BBQ day in September. It went really well, despite it being wet we got 70 or 80 along and they all gave it a go. We had fun skill games, and the feedback was positive. We want to do another event in April to try to rekindle that interest.
“We also want to set up a junior academy and a few guys are doing their coaching badges so they can teach the youngsters. It’s a great sport, it’s fun and it’s sociable.
“However, if we do not do anything now then in five to ten years’ time we will face the threat of closure just like other clubs. At the moment it is difficult to keep sustaining the club if we stick with the status quo. We have around 40-50 members, in our centenary year in 1990 we had over 100 and there was a waiting list.
“It would be great if we could see those levels of membership again.”
For more info on joining a club near you visit the Bowls Scotland website.