I was pleased when the following subject agreed to appear in the profiles – our very own Roger Morgan. I must say that Roger is another face that seems to have been around the bowling world for some time but he tells me he was quite a 'late starter' taking up the game at the advanced age of 15 through his good friend Gareth M Williams. 'I hated it at first, but kept going as otherwise I would be kicking my heels over the summer – then I got hooked. He has a lot to answer for.' Roger was born in Bangor but brought up in Craig y Don. He does remember being taken to the bowling green there as a tot, ' I used to run over and pick the bowls up from the gutter; little did I know how many times I would be picking them up from the gutter decades later'. At school he was part of the Ysgol John Bright Badminton team that won the Welsh Schools Championship three years running. Badminton's loss is our gain.
Roger plays bowls as often as he can. Now working in Cardiff, he has tried his hand at flat green during the week but returns to crown green most weekends. When asked about the clubs he has played for he gave me at least eleven. Included are Craig y Don, Patricroft WMC, Lloyds Hotel, Knutsford BC, Ifton, and Sychdyn. The list goes on ' The great Roy Armson once said that I had more clubs than Jack Nicklaus.'
Despite working commitments, Roger still manages to remain a member of the WCGBA Executive Board, and organises the annual Don Morgan Trophy at Craig y Don, now in its twentieth year. He also enjoys his role as the 'voice of Welsh bowls' commentating on events at the Waterloo, BCGBA Senior Merit and the Craig Roberts Memorial Invitation event at Rhos Park. He has also notched up fifty singles titles and twenty pairs titles covering different counties. They include Vernon Building Society Stockport Pairs in 1993, September Isle of Man Festival 1994, Tournament Players Association Top 64 Championship 2000 and the 2001 Welsh Senior Merit.
Most players at any level can choose one game where everything comes together. For Roger it was beating legend Ken Strutt 21-9 for Wales against Greater Manchester in 1990 and more recently a game where he wishes the ground had swallowed him up, 'there was a real bowls lesson given to me by Jack Dyson at Elland in Yorkshire who consigned to me my biggest defeat for Wales 21-4 in 2015. Roger is extremely proud of his 124 appearances for Wales and so are we. Roger's advice is always ' play with a smile on your face, and when it happens accept defeat gracefully – there will be plenty of other times when it is your day.'
Playing flat green in Cardiff has given Roger an insight into another branch of bowls and learning more about the game is, for him, very interesting. ' I would like to bring a mutual respect and understanding of both codes closer together as they could learn from each other. I certainly never waste an opportunity to promote our great crown green game with friends in the South.'
Other ways Roger likes to relax is walking and the pub game of skittles which he plays in the winter for a Cardiff team. He also plays badminton and golf sometimes. He likes all kinds of music from the Stereophonics to Elvis Costello and is quite a film buff. He is also spoilt for choice around the Capital for his favourite curry and Mexican food. He can think of nothing nicer to chill out to than a good film and 'nice cool beer.' Asked what makes him laugh, Roger says the good comedians and comedies will always be part of his down time. He particularly likes Peter Kay and Lee Mack with Father Ted and the IT Crowd topping his comedy show list.
Roger counts himself fortunate to have travelled widely but 'the one that stands out is New Zealand for the 2011 Rugby World Cup following Wales – with son James, they managed to talk themselves into the stadium to see the France -v- New Zealand Final.
Roger is as concerned as anyone about the future of bowls. Numbers have dropped and it is extremely difficult to attract players who have no previous connection to the game. He has seen the power of TV on sport at first hand and knows that economics is a huge stumbling block to getting mainstream TV and media on board.
Asked if there was anything else he wished to add ' No. I think I've bored you enough.' Never!