Tom McGuiness is determined to show bowls has something for everyone – both on and off the green. 

McGuinness, 24, will represent England at the European Championships in Scotland later this year and is keen to spread the message that the sport has more to offer more than its popular perception. 

Speaking ahead of Bowls’ Big Weekend on May 27-29, the Gerrards Cross star emphasised that bowls is one of the few completely inclusive sports - as well as having a vibrant social element - meaning the fun is not just limited to what happens on the green. 

“It’s one of the very few sports you can play with your grandad, your grandma – there’s no one in the family that can’t play,” said McGuinness. 

“You can have three, four generations all playing in the same match which is a nice aspect of the sport. It’s a real family-based sport and a great one to invite your friends down to. 

“You can play with anyone, it doesn’t matter who you are, it’s a very inclusive sport.” 

He added: “The social side of bowls is second to none. 

“A lot of my friends who don’t like bowls or don’t play it, come down all the time on a Friday night, have a few drinks and then everyone ends up on the green.  

“The social side of bowls is amazing, and I’ve been really fortunate at our club, we’ve put a lot of money into the bar, the TV to put the football on and all of a sudden everyone in the local area wants to come down to the bowls club.” 

McGuinness started playing bowls at a young age, influenced by his dad John, who is also an international bowler and the current High Performance Director at Bowls England, before eventually taking the sport more seriously. 

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“I was fortunate that at my club there were a few youngsters of a similar age to me so it made it quite easy to go on after their matches and just start chucking a few bowls around,” said McGuinness. 

“Eventually throughout the years, it started getting more serious. I’m a very keen football player as well, so when I was younger football was certainly a priority and then as the years went on, I started playing more and more bowls. 

“I had to make that decision that I am good at bowls, and I have the opportunity to progress to quite a high level, so I started putting in more time and effort into that.  

“I started winning county competitions, playing more regularly in nationals and winning them and then very fortunately, this year, I’ve been selected for the European team which I’m really excited about. 

“We've got a young team going to that, which I think is really important for development and future aspirations of playing in Commonwealth Games. 

“We’ve got a great chance of winning medals, hopefully gold. To beat Scotland in their own backyard – I’d love to do that.”

McGuinness has been selected as part of the European Championship squad ahead of a big summer for bowls, with Bowls’ Big Weekend offering a people a chance to try out the sport for the very first time. 

And asked for his one piece of advice, McGuinness added: “Give it a go. 

“It’s one of those sports that you’ll try once and you’ll want to try again. That’s certainly how it was for me.  

“Once you got on and started playing competitively, you can’t get enough of it.  

“You can join and just play on the weekend but if you want to play competitively then there’s loads of competitions you can enter.” 

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