Spalding bowler Jordan Philpott is inspired by the exploits of curling ace Eve Muirhead’s golden Beijing heroics
Spalding’s Jordan Philpott is hoping to propel his bowls career to the next level after being inspired by curling great Eve Muirhead’s golden Beijing heroics.
Muirhead’s women scooped gold for Team GB at the Winter Olympics in February and Philpott (24) was watching on knowing the success could inadvertently bolster bowls’ profile.
Regularly referred to as ‘curling on grass’, bowls’ popularity is set to sky rocket - with the sport taking centre stage at the home Commonwealth Games in Birmingham this summer.
Philpott said: “Bowls is very similar to curling and there are not a lot of curling rinks around here, so a lot of people come to get a taste of that.
“When you speak to people they go, ‘Bowls is just like curling’, so you start a conversation through that and then you try and convince them to come down to their local club to give it a go.
“I watched the curling in Beijing and Eve Muirhead – what a legend she is! If anyone could be as great as she is, then they have had a top career.
“It’s a great opportunity for us with the Commonwealth Games in our home country and with Birmingham quite central, we are hoping to get a lot of people down.
“Hopefully that inspires a lot of people to take up the sport and the clubs can build up and television coverage will be the big one - it will convince a lot more people to take it up.”
Philpott is one half of a bowls power couple, as both he and partner Ruby Hill will represent England at the European Championships in Ayr in early July.
The pair met 12 years ago when they were first introduced to the game at Royal Mail Cart Bowls Club in Spalding, and started going out after a romance blossomed four years ago thanks to the burgeoning bowls social scene.
And before trying their best to bring home European medals, the duo will be flying the flag for the sport at Bowls’ Big Weekend from Friday to Sunday.
Philpott added: “We are the only club within about 15 miles to host Bowls’ Big Weekend, so we are hoping to get quite a big turn-out.
“We are fortunate enough to be joined onto the back of a local pub and bowls for a lot of people is about socialising, so we are hoping the pub regulars will have a game this time and then keep coming back to get a lot more members for us.”
Philpott, the 2021 national junior singles winner, will blaze new ground at the Europeans as he competes outdoors for the first time in Scotland - and has his eyes set on a future Commonwealth Games appearance, potentially as soon as Victoria 2026.
He explained: “My target is just to try and come home with some medals for the team, it doesn’t matter what stipulation it is in and hopefully the team comes back as the overall winner.
“It’s everyone’s dream to play for their country, which I’ve been fortunate enough to do, and now the Europeans is the next step up and the Commonwealth Games would be the dream.
“We will aim high and you never know. I probably need another good four years at least, maybe eight years to get some national titles under my belt and just build a bit of a reputation and try and break into that team.”
Find your nearest participating club at www.bowlsbigweekend.com