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Interview


A


fter a break of several years from mainstream TV, some of you might have caught a glimpse


of a ‘crown greener’ taking centre stage during the World Championships on the blue portable rink at Potters. The World Bowls Tour wanted an


exhibition game to entertain the crowds by showcasing a crown greener – and who better for the job than Chris Brown, the likeable lad from Rotherham? Known on the crown green circuit for his huge ‘hammer’ strike, the world at Potters took to Chris and the crowds loved him.


J: Tell us a bit more about your family Chris, and where you started bowling. C: Both my parents – and brother and sister – used to play bowls. When I was three, the local paper did a piece on the family and my dad was quoted as saying that, while my brother and sister were good, I looked like being the best! Dad won a number of local tournaments and also a couple of nationwide ones. I remember the old Rolls-Royce Open in 1986 and having a swig out of the cup filled with ale – so that’s where it all started. If dad had been able to strike, he could have been one of the top players, but he couldn’t, so I’m not sure where I got it from. My wife is a top lady bowler and we have two amazing daughters, Emily, who’s nine, and five-year-old Shannon. They aren’t too interested in bowling at the moment, although they do get excited when I’m on the TV.


J: What clubs do you play for? C: I play for Woodlands in Doncaster and Lower Hopton in Yorkshire.


J: What would you count as your proudest achievement in life so far? C: In life, fathering two wonderful girls. In bowls, there are a few. Winning the South Yorkshire county merit for the first time in 2004 is one, as is winning the Mirfield Old Bank for the first time in 2003 on the same day that Emily was born. I then took the trophy in to an unsuspecting wife at the hospital the day after. I’m proud every time I play for South Yorkshire, too, but especially when I was presented with my 50th cap


If dad had been able to strike, he could have been one of the top players, but he couldn’t, so I’m not sure where I got it from


on the day that I managed to beat Lee Heaton at Hilltops. I think it was a massive achievement for me. I’m proud to be the first and only man to successfully defend the Lower Hopton Classic, beating Brian Duncan in the final. Winning the Panel Xmas Handicap in 2010 against all the odds was special too.


J: Who is your sporting hero outside of bowls and why? C: Ronnie O’Sullivan – a tortured genius.


Chris catches up with the latest issue of Nationwide Bowler


J: Many players look up to you in crown green as you’re known for always smiling and enjoying the game while playing to win, but who do you admire when it comes to bowls and have you a hero in the game? C: All-time would be Fred Whitehead. He won the All England in 1964 (I think) and the famous Talbot on his first visit in 1969 (I think) and I was absolutely privileged to play in the same team as him, and play doubles with him, in my formative years from about 14 up to 20. Currently, it would be Andrew


Spragg. He had an unbelievable run in the All England over a five-year spell, winning it twice, losing in the final, semi and quarters.


J: What bowls do you use? C: Thomas Taylor Deluxe 2-11 (I think they’re deluxe, or classic. I really don’t know).


J: Do you have a favourite venue and why? C: Got to be The George, Warley (Birmingham). Amazing green, fantastic facilities and, more importantly, a great bunch of people.


J: If you could change one thing about the game, what would it be? C: Remove the rule regarding getting near a bowl – it makes no difference whatsoever if you stamp or waft a bowl but it does get you, as a player, fired up and also gives the crowd something to shout about!


J: Boring question, but I’m sure some readers would like to know, what is your day job? C: I work as a Work Study Project Manager – basically a time and motion kind of job within the Jobcentres.


J: It will take some time to do, I know, but can you list some of the major titles you have won? C: Here goes – 79 in total, of which 43 are Open singles titles. The main ones would be SY County Merit twice, Lower Hopton Classic twice, The Grange Classic (at the time the biggest first prize on the mainland), Universal (Stafford), Pudsey Classic, Les Evans Memorial, Tom Heyes Memorial, Ramada Jarvis (Solihull), West Melton Victory Cup, Panel Xmas Handicap, Sandal Classic, Frank Beeley Memorial, Rastrick Classic and the Arthur Johnson Memorial.


So there you are folks, a bit of an insight to the man who graced our screens in January and did


the crown green world proud. If you see Chris about,


don’t hesitate to go and have a chat – the likeable lad from Rotherham will, I’m sure, be more than happy to talk bowls.


NationwideBowler 33


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