PHOTO: Danny Evans
Introducing Raymond and Scott Baxter; a formidable father/son duo and members of the Sun Bowls Club. Having played together for the best part of 17 years, we met the experienced bowlers to find out more of their story and the misconceptions commonly associated with the sport.
How did you both get into bowls?
RAYMOND: I started to play in 1995. My Dad had started the year before and he invited me to give it a try. I thoroughly enjoyed it and the hospitality the club showed convinced me to carry on, which I have never regretted.
SCOTT: My Dad got me into bowls when I was about 10 as a way of spending more time together and to see if I’d like it. I don’t think he expected me to carry on to compete in world competitions.
What is it about the sport that you enjoy most?
RAYMOND: In the beginning, the enjoyment came from playing against the better players and learning to compete with them at all levels. Although I still enjoy the competitive side, the friends you make from all the various clubs make bowling all the more enjoyable. The fact that Scott and I play together competitively is also great; there aren’t many sports where a 55-year-old Dad and his 27-year-old son can team up and compete in competitions.
SCOTT: I enjoy the competitive side. Considering Jersey is such a small island, it has a lot of very good bowlers, so it’s always good to compete against strong opponents. Playing bowls also gives me opportunities to travel the world and play against the best in the world at any level.
What are the misconceptions commonly associated with bowls?
RAYMOND: ”It’s an old man’s game” – is a phrase that you normally hear when you tell people you’re a bowler. While there are many older people that play, the quality and amount of young talent in Jersey and the rest of the British Isles is fantastic. For example, Jersey had 5 male team members that competed in the Atlantic Rim Championships in Wales in May 2019, with only one being over 30 years of age, and the Ladies singles player is only 18. They are a joy to watch as they progress on the world stage.
SCOTT: That it’s a sport for the older generation. Yes, there are older people that play, but when we go away and play in big world events it is all young people that are playing. It’s good to see because bowls as a sport has been trying to shake off this misconception for years, so I highly recommend anyone with this view to just come and give it a go.
Does it ever get competitive between you two?
RAYMOND: In the beginning it was, but then Scott decided to take it seriously and became a very accomplished singles player from the age of about 17. I soon began to realise that I would have to accept that I was no longer the best player in the house! The fact that he went on to win 2 world titles and many others just proves that he had a good teacher, I think! Although, I do still have more club championships to my name than he does, but I’m sure he’ll soon overtake me.
SCOTT: It used to be when I was younger, but as I got older and played in more competitions, Dad had to swallow a bitter pill and accept that I was the better bowler.