Blind bowlers enjoy success at national finals

The team members celebrate their success!
The team members celebrate their success!

A local visually-impaired bowling team has returned from the National Winter Finals in Wigan with a “highly unexpected” third place.

The Lincolnshire Bombers, made up of Nigel Limb, Belinda Barker, Soss Hallewell and Derek Croucher, formed last year with the ambition of making the finals.

Nigel Limb with the trophy.

Nigel Limb with the trophy.

Being one of 14 teams, the Bombers hoped perhaps to finish in the top ten, but ‘never dreamed’ of scooping bronze position.

The National Blind Ten Pin Bowling Association’s winter league is open to trio teams, with the Bombers playing with a reserve.

The team are self-confessed ‘newbies’ to the sport, which makes their success all the sweeter.

Team member and Sutton on Sea man Nigel Limb, who joined the Lincolnshire Bombers over a year ago following a sand racing accident, told the Leader: “We’re absolutely over the moon with the result.

“When we arrived at the bowling centre, we could tell the teams were a different class from the last national final we competed in.

“They were all absolute quality. We thought we might finish seventh or eighth if we played our cards right.

“We were resigned to it, but still thought we might as well give it our all.”

Nigel explained that his partial sightedness wasn’t the only challenge in the sport.

He said: “We’re allowed the barriers up down the alley, but that’s the only aid we get – it’s essentially the same as sighted bowling.

“However, many blind and partially sighted people aren’t able to work, or exercise to the extent that sighted people do.

“We don’t have quite the same everyday, base fitness level, so it makes bowling a lot more physically tiring – especially for our team, who haven’t been playing as long as some of others here – and we were bowling for six hours!”

However, despite the odds, the Bombers rose to the challenge and feel ‘immensely proud’ of their achievement.

Nigel added: “We just didn’t think we had a chance of making the top three - it makes the result that much sweeter.

“It felt wonderful to be representing our area and doing everyone proud.”