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GENERATION GAME | Social side the key for the Stafford family

When Barry Stafford was asked what he, his dad and young son like most about playing bowls, his answer was ‘the camaraderie and banter associated with bowls and the many different types of people you get to meet’.

Barry’s son Carson, who is just ten years of age, is the fourth generation of his family to take up the sport. He would love to be a team skip and become a professional bowler.

It was Barry’s grandfathers, Stanley Stafford and Peter Blundell, who were first to try their hand at bowls when they attended an open day at Rowner Bowling Club in Hampshire.

They played for around 15 years each during which time they won the club pairs together.

Barry’s dad Ian, who is 65, joined the club in 1980, while Barry 41, became a member in 1992, aged 12.

Carson was only eight when he started bowling in 2018. He now plays with 00 Lazer bowls and enjoys playing with his dad and granddad at every opportunity.

Ian’s wife Angela played for around five years just for fun. Barry’s wife Emma doesn’t play… yet!

“I’ve been playing for 29 years as a member at Rowner Bowling Club,” explained Barry.

“We were all introduced to the game by our fathers which is wonderful for the family.

“My dad, myself and Carson also play at Palmerston Indoor Bowls Club during the winter where we play together in the mid-week leagues and indoor competitions.”

“Outdoors, I have won both the Portsmouth and District and the Hampshire Under 25 singles and county fours for Hampshire, as well as Portsmouth and District pairs, also playing in the Liberty Trophy for Hampshire,” explained Barry.

“I have also won our club singles six times and more recently as a club, we have qualified for the last 32 in the men’s national double rink.”

Ian is deaf and has played for England and Southdown deaf teams for many years, winning three bronze medals for triples and fours in the seventh International Deaf Bowls Championships where he captained the England team.

Barry continued: “In 2019, dad and I won the Portsmouth and District pairs, and have won my grandfather’s memorial trophy, the Peter Blundell Shield, on several occasions.”

The only dislike Barry says the family have about bowls ‘is the new format in national and county competitions having shorter games from 21 ends to 15.’

Added Barry: “Due to dad’s deafness, it’s hard for him to hold any administration role due to difficulty with communication, but I held the club captaincy at Rowner BC from 2014-2017.

“Dad and I usually play together; I skip and he leads.

“When dad leads for me, it means we get family time together and keeps us close, and when it’s the three of us, it creates great family memories for us all.

“We do all tend to get on really well, we have of course had the odd disagreement but that’s always left on the green.”

We would love to hear about your family connections to feature in a future issue of Bowls International. Please drop an email to editor@bowlsinternational.com and we’ll be in touch!