Richardson is still bowling over the opposition

Bowler John Richardson recently won the Doncaster Gentlemen's Merit Trophy. Picture: Marie Caley D5086MC
Bowler John Richardson recently won the Doncaster Gentlemen's Merit Trophy. Picture: Marie Caley D5086MC

John Richardson continues to be one of the men to beat in Doncaster & District Bowling Association singles competitions.

The 51 year-old Armthorpe Welfare bowler recently won the Gents Merit title for the third time in its eight-year history to take his career tally to an amazing 55 titles.

Featuring prominently in that figure is a record-breaking six Doncaster Individual Merit titles and three Champion of Champions’ crowns.

John’s collection also includes the 2011 South Yorkshire Handicap - but he says his best days on the green are behind him.

“You can obviously play well into old age, but you are generally at your peak in your 30s,” he said.

Despite that, John still has his sights on winning a couple more titles this season.

“I don’t play as many out-of-town competitions as I used to do – I probably enter about 20 a year now – but I always like to average two or three titles a year,” he said.

He is also hoping to pick up some silverware with Welfare, whom he joined in 2000, in the various league competitions.

A useful table tennis player with Pegler in his teens, John took up bowls in his early 20s.

“I used to watch my dad (Howard) play for ICI and he encouraged me to take the game up and I joined Stainforth and took to it pretty quickly,” he recalled.

It was while he was at Stainforth that John won his first Doncaster Individual Merit title in 1996.

Like most bowlers John has his favourite greens in the Doncaster League, including Pilkingtons Recreation and Woodlands Park.

John, who considers his Achilles heel to be his corner play, claims there is no secret to success - just hard work.

“Obviously you’ve got to have some ability and be a good tactician, but you’ve also got to be dedicated and practice hard,” he said.

“Concentration is also very important,” he added.

“I would say it is 70 to 80 per cent of the game.”