Updated: Nov 5, 2021
I attended the Lincoln Qualifier a couple of weeks prior to the Stanley event and managed to get a place due to a late drop-out. I was at an early stage of my aim to lose 5 stone that I have gained over the last few years but the key was, I had started. Unfortunately it was an 8:30 start so I had to leave at 4:45am to ensure I was at the venue in plenty of time for the event. Getting up was fine, travel was no problem, arrived with enough time to get 20 minutes practice before my game and then proceeded to win my first couple of games. As the day wore on I could feel myself emptying out and by the time I was playing the quarter final I was comfortably despatched by the eventual qualifier, Pat Briscoe and I wish him all the best at Potters. This for me was another wake up call as regardless of what is thought about our sport it is physically and psychologically demanding AT THE TOP OF THE SPORT and my personal level of fitness was nowhere near what it needed to be for a long qualifying event. I had 2 weeks to get myself into better shape for what was going to be a war of attrition at Stanley. Not only would I be assisting with the streaming and commentating but I also had to play bowls against top opposition.
Not an easy task if just playing never mind the extras on top so I had hope in the fact that up to the day before we started I had lost 21lbs in weight by using the "BowlsFit" programme created, by Katie Bulmer-Cooke | Fitness Trainer, Speaker & Consultant , for me to get myself fit for the 2018 Commonwealth Games down under on the Gold Coast in Australia, where i am proud to say i was a member of the bonze medal winning mens triples team. I was feeling good, my practice had gone well and a discussion prior to the event I had said "if I can transfer my current game from practice to the Stanley Green then someone was going to have to beat me by playing well". A 7:30am start setting up the cameras followed by 7 and a half hours commentating was possibly not ideal preparation for my first game and I would be lying if I was to say I wasn't a little stiff around the joints but a few stretches later I was feeling good to go.
Without boring you with all the details the rest as they say is history and after 3 games on the Saturday and a semi and final on the Sunday I got the qualification I desired and did not feel physically distressed in any way although I was a little tired.
Could I have done that in the physical shape I was a month earlier? Not a chance!
Will I be lighter and fitter by the time I get to Potters for the championship? You better believe it!
Will it help me to perform to the required level? Only time will tell but one thing for certain is I want to give myself the best possible chance to do that and I can categorically say that I have performed at a higher level when I am leaner and fitter.