"I am a Norfolk man and Glory in being so." Horatio Nelson

Archant pulls plug on short mat bowls coverage after 28 years

Archant Newspapers have decided to ditch their weekly coverage of short mat bowls after over twenty-eight years. The NCSMBA learned this week that because of web figures indicating that bowls in general does poorly online, Archant Head of Sport Chris Lakey has made the decision not to carry short mat bowls news in the Evening News and the EDP in future. Of course in recent years the weekly column provided by the Press Officer to Archant has been far less important than in earlier years as the NCSMBA website can carry far more news and photos than the limited column space provided by Archant can give. The Norfolk website provides the up to date information in depth that has always been unavailable in both the Evening News and the Eastern Daily Press. Most bowlers now use the website has their first point of call for information and the Norfolk website has a reputation for keeping its members informed of local and national short mat bowls news. Although aimed at Norfolk members it has become obvious for a long time that short mat bowlers from many other counties often access the Norfolk website to read about the sport as well. The Norfolk Press Officer Selwyn Goldsmith first obtained a weekly column in the Eastern Evening News twenty-eight years ago, initially for the City of Norwich League, but was asked by the NCSMBA Committee to take on the job for the Association and then expanded the column to include news from across the county. He can remember the early days when he would buy a film for his camera before any major events being held, then rushing to get the film developed to choose a photo to go with the article. He would then have to drive to what was then the Eastern Counties Newspapers offices to deliver the article and the photo. In recent years life has been much easier for him of course with digital photos and e-mail although his wife Teresa knew that every Sunday evening, after County Championships and County matches etc, would be given over to getting the information together, writing the article and submitting it. Even holidays abroad involved securing information and writing the article on a Sunday and then submitting it in time for publication. With most short mat bowlers now accessing information on the website, and newspapers now firmly focussed on advertising revenue through their websites rather than providing extensive coverage of all local sport, this day no doubt was certain to come. The losers will be the more elderly bowlers who have never mastered computers and still buy their newspaper on a Tuesday to read about short mat bowls and it is them that we feel sorry for. Certainly after 28 years of Selwyn’s column in the newspapers it rather feels like the end of an era. To mark the occasion, over the next few weeks, we will publish a selection some of the articles published in the early days of the sport.