SOPHIE TOLCHARD, 26 FROM DEVON
I was born into a sporting family so I’ve spent my whole life either watching sport or playing myself. When I was younger, before I took up bowls, I played a lot of netball which I really enjoyed for years but due to the hectic bowls schedule, bowls eventually took over. At school, I studied GCSE sport which I loved, as I had the opportunity to play pretty much every sport and learn about it. Most of my weekends are spent playing sport and if not playing, I’m watching sport on the TV.
Bowls has always been part of our family life. My dad and brother started playing first. Sadly, my dad passed away when I was 12, so from then on, I spent a lot of my up-bringing with my mum going to watch and support my older brother play. After many years I decided I wanted to play properly. There were lots of competitions and junior games to get involved with in the local area which definitely helped as I was surrounded by people of the same age. This spurred me on as there was a group of us who played together and years on, many of us still play and remain good friends.
Once I started playing, I have never looked back. I think mainly because I’ve always been competitive and bowls is a vehicle that allows me to exercise my competitive nature. I’ve been lucky enough to play for my county, then go onto play for England and now be part of the elite squad. The friendships I have formed throughout the years have definitely helped as I have lots of great people around me to play with so we have fun both on and off the green.
Bowls can offer women all of the above like me….the opportunity to be competitive and as it has a great social side so you can make friends for life. Bowls is also a sport for everyone which is the best thing about it.