A chat with Potters Bowls Ambassador and world number one, Greg Harlow
Greg is our Bowls Ambassador and the current world number one indoor bowls player.
Greg and his team organise competitions for 10,000 bowls players every year, and run the Potters Bowls Shop. As Greg gets ready to compete in the Just 2019 World Indoor Bowls Championships, we caught up with him to find out his greatest bowls achievement, his top tip for bowlers and what his plans are after the Championships…
Tell us about what you do at Potters…
I organise the running of the 30 Midweek Potters bowls breaks, between September and May. Highlights from some of these breaks include special celebrity guests, such as Andy Thomson MBE and Tony Allcock. The competitions are competitive, but friendly, and it is fantastic seeing everyone enjoying themselves. I also run the Potters Bowls Shop on-Resort and online, selling an array of bowls, equipment and clothes from all the leading brands. I also work with Mark Royal in running the bowls roadshows, where we visit clubs around the country, plus I host bowls cruises for Potters Abroad, with a 14-night cruise around the Mediterranean this July. We play some fun games on the ship and also stop off to play locals at various ports along the way.
What is your greatest bowls achievement?
Winning the World Indoor Bowls Championships in 2010 because it really is the biggest and best bowls Championships in the world. It is the ultimate achievement for any bowls player and is what you dream of when you start playing professionally. The atmosphere of playing in front of big audiences and having millions of people watching on BBC TV during the final week is so unique and it’s the biggest audience of any bowls event. I tend to be focusing so much on my game that I don’t tend to notice the cameras! Being at the Championships sitting in the Arena is nothing like watching it on TV. It is so exciting and unpredictable, and you will see the best in the world play at their sport. Also being the first player to have won three consecutive International Open Titles is pretty special.
Can you give us a bowls tip?
When playing try to stay calm, relaxed and in the moment. Before a match I like to watch a film with my wife, Kay, to relax.
Are you taking a holiday after the bowls Championships?
Whatever happens, the day after the final I have 500 bowls players to look after on our Midweek break featuring a Bowls England tournament. I tend to take my holidays in the Summer, as I don’t play outdoors.
What do you do when you’re not working?
I play golf, very badly, with my dad, and Kay and I love socialising, and enjoying nice meals out or going to the cinema. My drink of choice varies depending on where I am, but overall you can’t beat a nice gin.
What is the best thing about playing bowls?
Everyone can play as it is a sport for all, and you can play as a family. There’s not many sports where an 80 year old can beat a 30 year old! I became interested in bowls around the age of six, watching my parents play, but couldn’t start playing until I was 11. I always loved sport, but I was better at bowls than anything else, and it’s just a fun sport that anyone can do. I actually got my grandparents playing carpet bowls many years ago, and one of my grandchildren, four-year-old Beau, started playing with me last year so I got him a home set.