Meet Andrew Newell, Jamaica’s Pioneering Lawn Bowler

The competing teams for the Caribbean Bowls Tour’s KNCC International Championship, with High Commissioner Aloun Assamba

According to our research, you visited Jamaica in 2011 to drum up interest in the sport. Can you tell us about the progress of your mission to help establish interest in lawn bowls in Jamaica? Since 2011, I have created the KNCC events which started in 2013. These events saw Jamaica represented for the first time in the sport of lawn bowls against other countries. These events were held as family fun days, creating interest in the sport within the Caribbean community. The 2014 KNCC event was held in Glasgow, Scotland, the host to the Commonwealth Games a month before the games took place. At this event, the first Jamaican bowls team competed on the same green that some of the worlds best bowlers would play on for Commonwealth medals. Former world champion boxer Junior Witter and TV sports commentator Leon Mann were also members of this team, along with Mervyn Edwards – the first and only Jamaican and black British Crown Green Bowls Association president. This year saw the Caribbean Bowls Tour’s KNCC events host the first ever Caribbean Championship, in which eight Jamaicans competed in singles competition. Also, the international event, which was held in August, saw Sweden, the United Arab Emirate and Holland all compete against Jamaica for the first time in history. Jamaica had two teams in this event, in which one of them came top of the international teams competition. The event was also opened by the UK-based Jamaican High Commissioner.

Why have you been determined to represent Jamaica internationally, considering we don’t yet have a governing body or any sort of league? Since playing, I have always wanted to play for Jamaica in the sport. After investigating, I was told I could not officially play for Jamaica due to the lack of a governing body. For some reason, the fact that I couldn’t compete has kept me pursuing how to get Jamaica playing.

Why do you think the sport hasn’t yet been established in Jamaica? I can’t really say why this sport has not ever been played in Jamaica. The only time this sport has not been played in the Commonwealth Games was when it was held in Jamaica in 1966, but I do believe if this sport is started in Jamaica, it will be loved.

Why do you believe it will catch on here? I think the speed and nature of this sport would blend in with the Jamaican culture. The weather of Jamaica is perfect to maintain a long outdoor season in which players could perfect their game. Plus, the sport could be easily adapted to entertain spectators as well as players.

How do you currently stay involved in the sport back home? In the UK, I currently play for Warlingham BC in Surrey. Organising all the KNCC events along with Jamaican team fixtures takes up a lot of my non-playing time. My company, the Caribbean Bowls Tour, will be now focusing on the tourism side of the lawn bowls business, with the Bluefield Bay Resort having now completed the first bowls green in Jamaica.

What is your vision for lawn bowls in Jamaica? To have Jamaicans playing the sport socially and competitively, with regular participation in events such as the Commonwealth Games. Also, for more hotels in Jamaica to see the benefits of having a bowls green, which can then spread though the whole Caribbean.