DT at Champion of Champions 2015
The third of our profiles features a very well known figure in Crown Green Bowls – DT Evans from Beaumaris. For those unfamiliar with what DT stands for, it is David Tudur. David's late Father never got to know his son, having passed away two months before David appeared on the scene. The late Mr Evans was a top bowler in his time, and David's Mother wisely kept his bowls in the hope that the young lad would take up the game – which fortunately he did. Bowls is the only sport David plays. He plays, on average, about once a week and has played for Craig-y-Don and Llanfair PG. His current club is beautiful Beaumaris.
He holds some notable offices including Gwynedd Association Secretary and Welfare Officer, Placement Secretary for the Welsh Referees, and is Chairman of the WCGBA Executive Governance Board. The administration of which keeps him busy when not out and about on the greens. DT represented Wales as its WCGBA President in1999. David has enjoyed quite a number of successes as a bowler over the years in competitions. In his modest words, 'Too numerous to mention'. He has played for Wales as a County players in the past and is still a keen player when he gets the chance. He is the 2017 Stan Higham Referees Champion.
When not involved with bowls, he enjoys his role as volunteer Room Guide for the National Trust at Plas Newydd House on Anglesey.
David has a great deal of respect for a number of eminent characters associated with the game from the past, including Gwyn Morris, Mel Higham, Ray Springfield and Don James. 'Sadly they are no longer with us'.
Most of us are aware that DT has a police background, starting as a cadet in the 1960s – some of us were still at school, others yet to be born. At that time a career in the Force ensured job security. It was whilst serving at Holyhead in the 1980s that David met his future wife Ann, also a serving officer. They married in 1987 and celebrate 30 years this November – their Pearl Wedding. For David's 'Pearl', voluntary and charity work keeps her busy.
DT is known to be a seasoned traveler and I foolishly asked him to name some of the locations he and Ann have visited. They total some 21 countries including – South Africa(twice), Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Peru, Croatia, Mexico, Hawaii, Japan, China, Thailand, Sri Lanka, India, Madeira, Italy, Ecuador, Vietnam and Canada. If I've left any out it's due to 'writer's cramp'. Having met DT many time and in many places as a referee across the Grown Green Bowls world, I had wondered if he had walked as many miles as he has traveled overseas.
'On refereeing duties over the years, I have walked many, many miles, but all of this pales into insignificance compared to our globe trotting experiences.'
A little something not many of us know is that DT is a qualified typist, having learned at school. A skill, I am sure, he found useful in the constabulary.
His tastes in music leans towards the musical – a little drama mixed with music. He is a concert aficionado having been to see performances in London, Birmingham and Liverpool, where his hopes to see the musical 'Cilla' next month. His taste in comedians is eclectic too ranging from legends Norman Wisdom and Tommy Cooper to Lee Evans, Johnny Vegas and Peter Kaye.
Two things DT has been complimented on over the years, is his signature – he does have beautiful writing – and his dress. His colleagues at Beaumaris refer to him as 'Immaculately Dressed Dave' – I was going to ask him if he possessed a pair of jogging pants and a baggy T-shirt but thought better of it.
We may smile at David's neat, personal dress code, but it this attention to detail and high standards he sets himself that has made him one of the top referees in the Crown Green world across Britain and highly respected by some of the big names in the game.
His feelings about the game he loves and has been involved in for many years include a disappointment that players no longer seem content to be a 'one Club Member' with multiple membership of several Clubs becoming the norm. DT was encouraged to take up refereeing by the late Don James and feels to be a credible one you need to gain the respect of ALL players from the novice to those playing at the very top of their game. David has certainly achieved this. Last year he achieved an amazing triple by refereeing the finals the BCGBA Senior Merit at Llay, the Champion of Champions and the Endsleigh British Senior County Championship Final at Shrewsbury.
We look forward to seeing him as a regular feature at all level of bowling events here in wales and elsewhere in Britain for many years to come.
DT with 2016 Champion of Champion finalists Gary Ellis and Glyn Cookson, with BCGBA President Peter Higham
BCGBA 2015 Deputy President with DT following the BCGBA Junior Merit at Rhos Park
They say trouble comes in threes, but if you add another one, you have Wales' 'Twin Dragons' not the fire breathing kind, although Leighton's love of curry 'the spicier the better' could be a future asset to Welsh bowls.
Our four characters this time, Leighton Roberts and twin Keiron and Kelsey Morgan Rowlands and twin Katelyn all acknowledge the major role their respective fathers ( Derek Roberts and Gary Rowlands) have played in getting them started in bowls and who continue to support them. Both sets of twins also point to Geoff Pugh, Colin Seale and Darren Lacey who have encouraged them to improve their game and also to all their families and team mates.
At one time, Wales had twins in the Seniors, Juniors and Ladies.
Asked how much they play bowls, they all agree they probably play ' too much'. When you look at the number of Clubs the boys have played for in the past and still play for some eight or nine clubs between them with the girls a modest two. I'm surprised they've had time for anything else. As Kelsey says 'Esclusham is like a second home' and Leighton admits ' I have a very understanding girlfriend'.
These young'uns are no strangers to organisation and graft either with Keiron having served as Captain at one time and Greenkeeper for Ifton BC. Katelyn is Captain of the Esclusham B Pairs team and in her second year at the job.
All four are very humble about their bowls successes, but can list the Welsh Senior Merit, Welsh Ladies Merit, Isle of Man Festival, numerous singles and doubles titles in Wrexham and Flintshire, Division A Merit winner and as part of the Esclusham team that won the British Super Cup in 2016 among them.
I asked them if they play doubles together and got a resounding 'NO'.As expected, they all said they argue too much, so in the interests of family harmony they play with other partners.
They all accept that no game is ever easy with comments such as, ' It's all on the day' and 'You have to play at your best, always'.
However, there is justifiable pride from them all.
Leighton got ' a massive high winning the Welsh Senior Merit ' in 2015 and for Kelsey who won the Welsh Ladies Merit 2016 ' I'll never forget seeing people crying with happiness because I won. It was crazy.'
On the 'bucket list', Kelsey and Katelyn would both like to win the British Ladies Merit and the Ladies Waterloo 'When you wish upon a star'(Jiminy Cricket, Pinocchio)
Leighton has his eye on the Welsh Senior Merit ' a few more times' and would like to win some bigger tournaments out of the area to establish himself as one of the best bowlers Wales has produced. He has already been told that he is on his way to achieving this dream.
Keiron's ambitions included winning the Welsh Senior Merit.
'I'd like to follow in my brother's footsteps in the Welsh Merit'. As our 2017 Merit Champion, I think that ones' in the bag.
Twins winning their county merit. Is this a first in British Crown Green bowls? Answers on a postcard please.
Finding down time from bowls, work and study must be hard, but Keiron manages to fit in some football, darts, golf, and fishing, whilst brother Leighton enjoys football and cycling. For the girls, retail therapy is high on the list.
Music tastes include Ed Sheeran, Bruno Mars, Arctic Monkeys, Whitney Houston and James Arthur, whilst comedy and action films are firm favourites. OK Katelyn. Disney has both. Right?
Whilst Kelsey and Katelyn don't have any foods they particularly enjoy, Leighton likes things 'spicy' and for Keiron, ' I love my food, the bigger the portion, the better'.
As one can imagine, they have a few nicknames between them 'Twin' or 'Twinnie' are popular so is Lato and Kee. Kelsey has been dubbed 'Wrecker Rowlands' by fellow team mate Dave 'Rocky' Jones. 'I don't know why, but it's stuck'. You'll have to ask Rocky about that one.
They are a well balanced bunch with personalities all their own. Neither of the lads feel they get stressed and seem to have lighthearted characters and reputations as jokers. Leighton counts himself as a relaxed person, but likes a holiday in the sun, whilst twin Keiron can get a bit anxious when he knows he is not bowling as good as he can.
Kelsey does admit to getting stressed at times, but loves to have twin Katelyn to talk things over with. They all appreciate having a great network of family and friends to call on if necessary. Kate chills out to Disney 'I wanna be like you' ( Baloo in Jungle Book Yeah?)
Both boys and Katelyn work locally and appreciate that their jobs allow them to play bowls as often as they can. Kelsey is in her first year at Salford University studying Podiatry ( a branch of medicine devoted to the study and treatment of foot and ankle disorders.) 'I don't know what attracted me. I've always had an interest. I particularly enjoy the medical side of the course.' Another 'feet' to be achieved, I'd say.
If each of the twins has a word of advice to pass on to other players, Leighton's would be, ' Always aim to do better and don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone.' Keiron's advice is 'Don't get hung up if you lose a couple of games. Move on to the next one.'
Kelsey wants others to 'Make sure you enjoy bowls and don't let anyone tell you you can't do something.'
Katelyn says ' Never underestimate any player: it's all on the day.' Then 'Let it go' (Elsa from 'Frozen')
It is evident our 'Twin Dragons' are very aware of how lucky they are. They take being part of a team seriously and have witnessed the difficulties in encouraging young people to take up the game. Katelyn is unhappy that the perception of bowls is still one of 'an old mans' game, whilst Kelsey would love to see more co operation between schools and clubs. Both Leighton and Keiron appreciate the work undertaken by organisers of tournaments and county matches and see the coverage on TV and other media as vital. Leighton particularly mentioned his disappointment at seeing good players and teams leaving the game, but they are all optimistic about the future.
I'm sure if careers and commitments allow, we will see all four taking a much more active role in the organisation of bowls in Wales. After all the future of the game is theirs. If they continue to be passionate about their sport, from developing their own game skills to encouraging others to play and to take an active part in bowls in other ways, the future is looking bright.