David A Jones
Our next profile features someone we all know well, or think we do. Dave 'Rocky' Jones was only a pebble when he was introduced to bowls by his father at the age of 3 – and he's just getting the hang of it now. Rocky plays every night of the week and can count the following Clubs who have benefited from his skills, Esclusham, Gresford Colliery, Ifton, Kelsall, Owley Wood, Bersham and Coed Talon. He captains Esclusham A and is Vice Captain of the team in the Super League.
As one of our brightest former Juniors, Rocky went on to join the Senior squad and was the Millenium winner of the Welsh Senior Merit in 2000. It is this win that he is most proud of, especially as his late father was there on the day and was as proud as Punch. He can also chalk up successes at the Woodley Spring Classic ( Stockport ), lots of local competitions and was a semi finalist at the Spring Waterloo. He would love to win the Welsh Senior Merit again, as Welsh bowls is very important to him.
Some games he plays hardly challenge him at all, but he recalls one of his toughest matches was against John Bailey at Esclusham, ' We were both on fire. I just scraped home 21-18 win. We both had a standing ovation as we came off the green.' Rocky also lives with what he calls the 'yips' a problem delivering ones woods. It can strike at any time, but he doesn't let it shadow his sunny personality, nor diminish his overall belief in himself and his will to carry on playing the sport he loves. Picking up the game of bowls himself, he does point to the late Don James as someone who helped him a lot. Don was also responsible for the 'Rocky' title, something that has always intrigued me. Apparently as a 'lad' after a night out, he ended up with an injured hand. Turning up at an Inter Area match with it heavily bandaged Don said he looked like Sly Stalone in the 'Rocky' movies – so the name stuck.
He works as a groundsman for the Wrexham Maelor Hospital and other NHS sites in North East Wales. He has three daughters who play bowls and a thirteen year old son, Jacob who is ' definitely the better player and one to watch for the future' – no pressure Jacob !
'Rocky' by name and a rock star by nature. He enjoys playing bass guitar with local bands – something he has done for a good twenty-five years. He likes The Police and most 70s and 80s music and action films such as the Bourne series – watch that hand again ! He also runs a quiz night at Esclusham on Sundays. Food ? 'Well, anything really.'
He has travelled to a few places and went to Poland last year. He has also visited Auschwitz which was 'very harrowing.'
Rocky finds being Mum and Dad to a daughter with learning difficulties very challenging and can be stressful as well as an occasional attack of the 'yips'. Time spent bowling and his 'army of friends' helps him through the tough times.
Like many others who play the sport, Rocky has seen the game struggling. Not all clubs are as encouraging to new players, especially youngsters. Esclusham, Rocky's club, runs a practice night and target bowls games. 'There are some fantastic under 18s out there.'
'Bowls has been my life and I will continue to play for as long as I can. It gets harder to concentrate as you get older',- he's 52 - but he is still 'battling with the best'.
Rocky is someone we should all be lucky to call a friend. He is an inspiration to everyone and just goes to show that the only one who can ever truly beat you is yourself.
Keep the faith and keep bowling.
Rocky with Esclusham at the British Team Championship Fox Lane 2017
Rocky in action at Cunliffe