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Bowls International celebrates 500th issue milestone

Bowls International is celebrating a milestone edition this month – its 500th issue since first launching in April 1981.

Bowls International was the brainchild of the late Chris Mills, and with the vision of the then fledgling Stamford-based company Key Publishing, now Europe’s leading publisher of aviation and transport titles, it soon developed into the world’s most respected bowls magazine.

In all that time, there have been only five editors, Chris Mills from 1981-1994, Melvyn Beck (1994-2012), Patrick Hulbert (2012-2014), Commonwealth Games gold medallist Sian Honnor (2014-2021) – who continues to write for the magazine, and current editor at large Ceris Hewlings and associate editor Matt Wordingham.

In that launch issue, Chris Mills wrote: “It was felt that there was a need for a top-quality magazine to reflect the modern approach and views being expressed today.

“Bowls International will always bear in mind its three main objectives – to inform, to instruct and to entertain.”

That philosophy has been maintained throughout the years, in which the sport has undergone massive changes to keep pace with the ever-changing world, resulting in a magazine which appeals to bowlers of all ages and abilities, from the average club bowler through to those plying their trade ay the higher echelons of the sport.

The sport has become almost unrecognisable from those early days of the magazine with the advent of coloured bowls and clothing, the merger of men’s and women’s bowling associations at both county and national level, the emergence of the World Bowls Tour, and truncated versions of the sport with tie-breaks. But while the magazine has moved with the times, having endorsed the view that certain facets of our sport were in desperate need of modernisation, it also acknowledges the need for some of the sport’s traditions, history, and heritage to be preserved.

Ceris Hewlings said: “The aim in today’s game is to provide something for everyone, from coaching articles to player interviews, features and discussions about current issues.

“We want to engage with our readers to give them the magazine that they will want to read and so welcome comments and suggestions.”

In that first issue, Bill Irish, who represented England at the 1978 Commonwealth Games, began a starter course for bowlers, while Jimmy Davidson, recognised as one of the leading coaches and shrewdest administrators of his generation, also joined the magazine and he remained for a number of years until his death.

The British Isles indoor series in Cardiff brought success for the host country for the first time in 16 years, with Ireland’s Jim Baker being crowned British Isles singles champion. There was also a spotlight on David Bryant winning the Embassy World Indoor Singles title after playing one of the best shots in his multi-talented armoury.

Bowls International is the world’s most respected bowling magazine, available monthly in both digital and print formats.

A six-month print subscription to Bowls International is priced at just £19.90, or a 12-month subscription is £35.99 – that’s less than £3 per month and includes FREE POSTAGE.