Cumbria take to the hill in bid to progress

July 4th may be a day of fireworks in the US of A but Cumbria’s bowlers will be hoping to create some of their own as they take on South Yorkshire in the BCGBA County Championships tomorrow at Lindal Bowling Club.

Teams normally play in groups of 4 with the winners progressing to a knock out stage but due to Covid this year the format has been changed to a straight knock out.

Cumbria have gone “all in” with what has become a banker for the home leg, choosing the tricky Pennington Lane green to try and give them the best chance of progressing.

With 12 games at Lindal and 12 being played at Crookesmoor near Sheffield the result will be decided on total points scored rather than individual wins so every point is critical.

So who have the selectors put their faith in for the game? Well with help from Barry Lowden we take a look at the teams.


BARRY LOWDEN (KING ALFRED) – AKA Chris Irvine’s daddy. Legend has it that it’s not a real competition if Barry isn’t in it. He has won everything there is to be won in the area and always leads from the front at home for Cumbria before settling down on the sidelines with his fan club to support the rest of the squad vocally.

PAUL CLARK (COOP) -“THE SWAN” has a cool demeanour on the outside whilst paddling like crazy on the inside. Can still go under the radar as “the grey man” due to his nature but back to back County Merits tells you all you need to know about his talent.

CHRIS IRVINE (KING ALFRED) – Barry informs us he is nicknamed “THE HOT TUB” and we are happy to leave it at that. A talented sportsman as long as a bar is nearby who has come on leaps and bounds since being taken under the wings of Lowden and Whitehouse, which is where you will find him most of the time. Got more front than Blackpool and makes up better stories than Steven Spielberg and Roald Dahl put together!

MARTIN BARROW (KING ALFRED) – Cumbria’s own Benjamin Button, almost a pensioner now but could get away with being under 30 on Tinder. One of the genuine nice guys on the bowls scene but a fierce competitor from a bowling dynasty.

TONY WHITEHOUSE (KING ALFRED) – Like Martin is barreling towards retirement and has been playing forever. Unlike Martin it is starting to show. Known harshly as “The King of the 80’s” Tony has one of the best playing records for Cumbria. The 80’s heart throb once got arrested for breaking into a five pound note and has managed all day on the lash without paying for around.

MARTIN WILSON (CROSSTHWAITE) – “NOISY” makes Paul Clark look like Rylan Clark. Noisy is like a stealth bomber and although I have only ever heard him say about 5 sentences in the time I have known him you won’t hear a bad word. Excellent on Lindal and expect a big result from the little man.

KIERAN CLARK (COOP) – Known as the “CYGNET” due to being Paul’s son and for his sheer beauty. When with his mates they look like a poor One Direction tribute. Questionable fashion sense and lack of socks is always a concern but has been playing since leaving the womb and won the County Merit when he was 6 years old.

DANNY ROGERS (SALTHOUSE) – Known as the Rolls Royce due to his smooth delivery, seemed to be runner up in a competition every week until breaking through and now a regular winner. Not as talented as his brother Adam Millar and an absolute loose cannon after dark on Facebook, best to avoid eye contact with him in the bar afterwards.

COLIN TAYLOR (ASKAM) – Doesn’t have a nickname but we shall call him John. If ever the term “Horses for courses” was apt it is for Colin on Lindal, spins them out like Shane Warne but green knowledge second to none which is vital.

PAUL CURWEN (POLICE) – PEESEE is as steely a competitor as you will find, loves the big occasion and will thrive in the cauldron like atmosphere at Lindal. Back after a long county hiatus but make no mistake his class and bottle will shine through. Will have to get used to the wearing the bright colour of Navy Blue instead of his usual Black.

DAVE JONES (KING ALFRED) – “DECOY” another top competitor who is more than proving his worth at County level. Has become a family man over the past two years but still part of Lowden’s harem on match days. With a bit of luck he might bring his older better looking brother Rob with him to shout us on!!! (I may retract the last statement if Rob has more than 2 pints!)

DARREN WOODEND (KING ALFRED) – Woody is about as intelligent as the Toy Story Character with the same name. If you had a coat as thick you would never be cold. He more than makes up for it with his ability, class and competitiveness. Always one to get behind on match day as he loves the noise and atmosphere. Darren Naylor is still trying to take credit for Woody’s success 35 years after playing in the same team as him at the Wash.


MATTY STEWART (HOLME) – One of the self proclaimed “Spice boys” of the Kendal Bowls Scene, can often be heard muttering the words “Do you know who I am?” when trying to get served at a bar. Past winner of the Big Smash and a real man for the big occasion, which is good news for his missus as he will be getting married soon.

IAN FRANCE (LINDAL) – Not to be confused with Ian France (Snr). “FRACCA” is part of a bowling dynasty and after a break from the game has returned over the past few years better than ever and wears his heart on his sleeve. He is the only good thing about France I can think of.

MARK ASHBURN (HOLME) – Unassuming, Jacob Rees Mogg lookalike but much more likable. Prolific winner of competitions especially with dad Steve in pairs. Underestimate the County Merit runner up at your peril.

GRAHAM LAW (LINDAL) – “LAWMAN” is a law unto himself. One of the most talented players to ever take to the green in these parts but mad as a box of frogs at times, we wouldn’t have him any other way. I would love to tell you more about him but he is like a Ninja and just bobs in and out of the world without any of us really knowing what is going on.

JAMES DUFFIN (GLAXO) – “DUFFMAN” Will and often does play 7 days a week. He can tell you all his stats for the year at the drop of a hat and has possibly the campest fist pump in sport. Some may say he needs to get out more, but having seen him projectile vomiting at a comedy club I would suggest he sticks to bowls.

IRA COLLIER (VICTORIA) – Another one of the “Spice boys”. Ira has a name and a look that wouldn’t be out of place on Emmerdale. Sees himself as a ladies man, nowt wrong with confidence no matter how misguided. A natural talent on the green who looks like he isn’t trying but always is.

STEVE CARRUTHERS (WINDERMERE) – Competed for years and has numerous competition victories to his name. Rumour has it that Captain Darren Naylor picked him so he had someone in the squad that remembers when he used to win things but rest assured Steve is there on merit and will help Darren keep the youngsters under control.

ADAM MILLER (SALTHOUSE) – Unassuming off the green an animal on it. You will know exactly what Adam is thinking, he wears his heart on his ridiculously thin sleeves. May look like a pipe cleaner but is an absolute heavyweight when it comes to bowls.

PAUL KISSOCK (LINDAL) – PK will travel anywhere for a game of bowls, which is why he is always on the away legs of County games. Often mistaken for the BFG by kids, his roll of honour has grown considerably over the past few years as he has learnt how to navigate his way through bowls comp. Whilst is striking is a potent weapon he can put them close as well and with considerable ease.

ZACH WALKER (POST OFFICE) – Zach is one of them talented kids who is good at many sports. They call them “Jocks” in America, we call them annoying in the UK. He can’t have everything though, looking like Gail off Coronation St can’t be easy. Effortless delivery on the green when in the zone he is frightening to watch. One of three from the same family in today’s squad along with Paul Curwen and Darren Naylor, and with me writing this we really are a talented bunch.

DARREN NAYLOR (LINDAL) – Derek loves to regale people with his tales of yesteryear when he used to win things. Has surrounded himself with youngsters in this squad to try and rekindle that feeling when he was one of them. Sadly Darren’s name has been removed from the history books, its a little known fact that he was 18-6 up against Francis Drake and platting it when the Spanish Armada pitched up. On a serious note Darren is a fierce competitor and will lead by example as Team Captain.

DAN VARCOE (HOLME) – The last of the Spice Boys. Dan has settled into family life over the past couple of years but it hasn’t as yet affected his bowls. “Golden Balls” sculptured good looks and fine physique has put many an opponent off and he is another of the new generation who makes the game look simple. Nothing fazes Dan and he will relish playing up to a hostile crowd in Yorkshire.

So there you have it, get yourself along to support the team tomorrow at Lindal BC. If you can’t Sport Furness will be giving live updates on our Facebook page throughout the day.

The game starts at 2pm and the bar will be open for refreshments so if you havn’t been to a County game this is the perfect opportunity to sample the atmosphere of one.

Written By
Mark Curwen

Mark Curwen

Bowls Editor

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