Wigan based crown green bowling club to host Lancashire's Inter County Championship semi-final

Lancashire take on Shropshire in the semi-final of the Inter County Championship at Garswood Hall Bowling Club this Sunday.

A number of players in the team come from the Wigan area, including captain Neil Bithell.

Play begins at two o’clock on August 7, in what is Lancashire’s first semi-final in 19 years.

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Bithell said: “Since the 1970s when the counties were split up, different areas have separated from Lancashire in bowling terms, so we've sort of struggled over the last 20 to 30 years.

Neil Bithell will captain LancashireNeil Bithell will captain Lancashire
Neil Bithell will captain Lancashire

“This is the best chance we’ve had. Our last semi-final was 2003 and we last won it in 1987, so we’ve not really had much success.

“The County Championship is the pinnacle of team bowling. All I ever wanted to do as a lad was play for Lancashire, and this will be my 60th time.

“It’s a very big working class sport, and we are trying to give it the coverage it deserves. I’ve been playing for 38 years since I was 13, it’s a dad lad thing where you follow your family.

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“Garswood Hall is an iconic venue, anyone involved in crown green bowling knows that, we are hoping for a big crowd.”

Bithell says he is concerned about the future of bowling due to the lack of new interest.

“There’s not many youngsters playing the game at the moment, and that’s where we are struggling.

“It’s very difficult to get lads out to play bowls, it’s very much has got that stigma but it is what it is.

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“We’ve probably got a good 20-30 years left, which is a shame. We are losing greens left right and centre.”

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