WCGBA President 2019
Welcome to the first of the 2019 Profiles. I am delighted to get things underway with our new President, David Mathias. David hails from the lovely island of Anglesey – a gorgeous place when the sun is out. Misty and mysterious when it's not. Unlike many of our past profile subjects, David did not come to the game of bowls from an early age, but you could say there was a family connection when, in the early 1980s, David and his wife took on the running of the cafe at the Happy Valley bowling green in Beaumaris – make mine a black coffee, no sugar please.
He was encouraged to take up the sport by Mike Ormond, Ken Parry, Barry Harris and Trevor Ashenden. They were to become his team mates in the years that followed, and Beaumaris is the only club he plays for, playing three to four league matches a week.
Not content to sit on the sidelines, David soon became the Club Secretary, then Chairman/Treasurer of Mon Menai CGBA, Chairman of Gwynedd CGBA and last years Deputy President of the WCGBA.
Even though David is a late comer to the game, he has won a few local competitions. Among them he lists the Ivor Owen Cup ( twice ), the Bangor and District League Cup ( three times ) and the Tom Towart Memorial Cup.
David's best and worst moments in the game seem to have occurred at the same time. He was proud to be selected for the Welsh squad to play Staffordshire in 2003 at the Home venue, Bethesda BC. His worst moment came with this, his only game for Wales, when he was to lose his match 21-7. I'm certain there are many players past and present who know the feeling. David is another wise player and will tell you that no game is easy; however the hard ones are all too easy to recall. David lost in the final of the WCGBA Merit in Abergele in 2001 to Roger Morgan. As compensation, his runner-up position that year meant he qaulified for the BCGBA Merit at Llay when Mel Higham was British President.
David seems very content with what he has achieved in bowls and life in general and has children and grandchildren to keep him busy. He hopes to keep on with his involvement in bowls administration and looks forward to representing Wales as its President in 2019.
Now retired, David had a number of jobs which must have proved helpful when taking on administration. From 1970 to 1973 he was teaching in Liverpool. In 1974 David left the teaching profession to work for the Royal Mail/Post Office for the next twenty years, first in Bangor and then in Rhyl. From 1996 to 2014 he worked with Anglesey County Council.
Those that know David well, will know that he is a keen follower of the England Cricket team and has followed them, literally, to their matches in the West Indies, South Africa and India as well as New Zealand and Australia – you may have spotted him on the telly as a spectator last year at the England/New Zealand game. David used to swing the willow himself in his younger days and also played football for Beaumaris.
David is a 'film goer' – his words – and enjoys any films with Tom Hanks. If he had to choose his favourites, they would be 'The Shawshank Redemption', Dr. Zhivargo and Castaway. He relaxes by watching episodes of 'Big Bang Theory' – nothing to do with astronomy I assure you – and is quite partial to a spot of Chinese food.
David is almost as well travelled as another 'island lad', DT Evans. As well as the countries visited in the name of cricket, David has also been to Brazil, Turkey, the USA and 'most of Europe'.
David is a keen 'blogger' when it comes to spreading the word about bowls. He writes under the title of 'Old Bowls Codger' on the NW Bowling website. His views and comments invite plenty of discussion on the forum; generally about Beaumaris BC and its players. He currently has over 86,000 hits. Writing material for his blog regarding his team mates and the unusual nicknames he has given them is something that makes David laugh. We have all heard of 'Immaculately Dressed Dave' that's DT Evans, but I should also mention 'Happy Harris' – that's Barry Harris ' cos he's never happy'. 'The Clog Man' – Ken Parry, whose father was the last clogmaker in Caernarfon and 'Twinkle Toes Thommo', one Ken Thomas ' as his jive dancing is something to behold.' Hope they are still friends after this David.
On the future of Crown Green bowls, David is also aware of the struggle to get young people interested in the game. Some clubs fair better than others, but most have their biggest membership age around 60. For David he says ' Taking up Crown Green bowling in 1984 was one of the best sporting decisions of my life. In the last 34 years I have made many friendships, not only within Beaumaris but also within many other bowling clubs throughout North Wales. Over the years, the club has gone on holidays together to Spain, Portugal and Turkey and this has given me many great memories.'
We all wish David well for his term of office as Welsh Crown Green President 2019 and hope he gathers a few more great memories in the year ahead.
Captured on TV enjoying a test match
Grandad we love you
Teaching the next generation at Beaumaris