The Scottish Association for Blind Bowlers - SABB
Although this skilful and fascinating game has been around for centuries, it was not until the late 1950s that blind people were introduced to the sport in Scotland.
In 1959 bowling for the blind and visually Impaired was started in the Kirkcaldy area by David burse. During that same year visually impaired persons in Dundee and Paisley also took up bowling. already in existence was the Scottish Bowlers for the War Blinded based in Edinburgh. In August of that year the four teams met at Baxter park Dundee for the first ever competition. In 1963 as other areas in Scotland started up blind bowling A meeting was held in Perth, where those present agreed to set up the Scottish Association for Blind Bowlers. From that date onwards various competitions took place mainly in Perth itself at the South Inch park.
In those days, the system used to direct the bowler was entirely different to that of today. Then, the blind bowler was guided to the mat and instructed to bowl to the sound of the voice, the clapping of hands or a bell ringing behind the jack.
Today, we use the 'clock method', as it is generally known, and this is possibly the most important innovation for all blind bowlers. Using this system, the 'marker' who is a very important individual in the game, is stationed beyond the ‘jack’. His/her job is to indicate to the players, at what time and distance from the 'jackj the bowl has come to rest. The 'jack' is the centre of the clock; therefore, six o'clock is in front and twelve o’clock behind, with all other positions being relative to the clock. From the information fed back from the 'marker' the player can build up a mental picture of the 'head', knowing exactly the position of each bowl in the 'head', thus allowing the player who cannot see, to be involved and familiar with the finer points of the game. The only minor concession made to the blind is that a fine white centre string runs under the mat and is fixed at both ends. The main object of this centre string is to help the bowler to judge the amount of grass required for each bowl delivered.
By the use of these minor variations, blind and sighted people are able to play together as these variations do not infringe upon, or alter in any way the basic rules of the game. But they certainly do improve the standard of bowling.
There are 12 clubs in the association at the present time, and all are seeking new members and volunteers (bowling assistants). A full list of clubs and contacts will be found under our Member Clubs link.
The Association is a registered Scottish Charity with a constitution and a hard working committee of management. The objectives of the Association as stated in our Constitution are:
"The objectives of the association are to further the physical and mental health of all blind or partially sighted bowlers in Scotland, to ameliorate their suffering and distress and to aid them in their visual limitations, specifically by promoting and encouraging their participation in, and playing of the game of bowls."
The Association runs tournaments and events throughout the year both Indoor and Outdoor. See diary of Events Link.
The Association is always looking for new visually impaired bowlers and sighted help. The committee is willing to help any individuals or groups of visually impaired persons who would be interested in taking up the game of bowls.
Anyone wishing further information can contact the Secretary Grace Whitton or any of the committee members or club secretaries listed in our Contact link.
Over the years the SABB has sent teams of bowlers to participate in World Blind Bowling Championships in Canada, New Zealand, and South Africa. In April 2009 10 bowlers competed in the World Blind Bowling Championships in Australia. Scottish players have also competed in many United Kingdom Indoor and Outdoor Singles Championships. Where the bowlers have been very successful, always coming home with a clutch of medals.