Nic with her mum Joan
For the next profile in this year's series, we get to spend some time with Nicola Boulton. Nicola is still remembered as a 'Dolby' and it was Mum and Dad, Joan and Bob Dolby that got Nicola involved. Nicola's husband Mike runs his own business and Nic is 'full-time Mum' to young Darci a lively eight year old from what I have seen. Although not in full time work, Nicola realises she needs to balance family life with her love of bowls. She still manages to play four evenings a week and every other weekend.
Nicola still plays some of her bowls in Wales for Broughton BC but can count the following as past and present clubs – Millstone Penyffordd, Airbus, Hartford BC in Northwich, Frodsham Red Lion, and Wharton Cons in Winsford.
Nicola has quite an impressive list of bowls successes which include the BCGLBA Champion of Champions, which she has won four times; the BCGLBA Ladies Merit in 2014; the Welsh Ladies Merit twice, the Ladies Waterloo in 2008 and the Mid Cheshire Ladies Merit on a number of occasions. She counts winning the BCGLBA Merit in 2014 as one of her special moments, having lost in the final on three earlier attempts. Her most embarrassing moment came when leading 20-4 in one game and then losing the match to 21-20. The score card was then displayed in the club house for years after. There will be plenty of sympathisers out there Nic.
She admits that her BCGLBA final game may have looked easy to anyone watching, but it was a combination of ability, honed over the years, with one hundred percent concentration and a determination that just all came together for her to win by an impressive 21-7. One of her toughest games was against bowls legend Stan Ffrith at Owley Wood. ' I was totally mesmorised by the bowls star and managed to score 7.'
Nicola hopes to keep playing bowls at the highest standard possible and talks about focusing on improving her game. Call her a perfectionist if you must, but she is well aware of how fortunes can change in the world of bowls and if you really love the game, why wouldn't you wish to be the best you can be?
When asked about other sports, Nicola obviously takes fitness seriously. She enjoys cycling, walking, running, aerobics and circuit training. In the winter, she joins other bowlers to play indoor. Whilst Bob and Joan have, undoubtedly been a big influence on Nicola as far as bowls is concerned, she has been her own mentor and judge over the years, learns from her mistakes and takes nothing for granted.
If there's time to chill out to music, she like The Stereophonics, Take That and Oasis. She dislikes the cinema and has a fondness for Italian food and 'WINE' – her capitals not mine! Few people will know that she is a good tap dancer too.
Nicola enjoys a drink and a chat with team mates and opponents and laughs mostly at 'good old fashioned bowls banter'.
Like a good number of our successful ladies, past and present, she has proved that bowls has come a long way and is opening up to more sections of society, but the idea of the sport as 'an old man's game' and predominately male is still deeply entrenched in most people. How to make it fun and 'cool' is a challenge for all of us. Perhaps young Darci will follow Mum and help to lead a revolution.
Nic with her husband Mike and daughter Darci
In action at last year's Ladies Champion of Champions.