Meet the players: An interview with Chloe Watson
Chloe Watson has been playing bowls since her Grandfather introduced her to the sport at the age of 10. She first competed at the World Indoor Bowls Championships in 2018 and will be returning in 2019 to compete in the Open Under 25s Singles category.
Read our exclusive interview below to find out how Chloe has been preparing for the Championships and why she thinks bowls is a sport for everyone.
1. How did you first get into playing bowls and how long have you been playing for?
I have been bowling for around 11 years after my Grandfather introduced me to short mat at the age of 10 alongside my brother, Jamie. My Granny had passed away not long before and my Grandad didn't like making the journey through the country roads and coming home by himself. We originally went with him every Saturday evening to keep him company and usually messed around the hall while he was playing. However we got bored of our own company after a while and decided to give it a go. We haven't looked back since.
2. How does it feel to be at the level you are, and how hard have you had to work to reach that level?
See, this is where it gets tricky as I am nowhere near the level that most of the people competing at the Championships are. It’s just little old me from little old Ireland, showing up for a bit of craic and to enjoy the game. I’m the underdog of the game, just how I like it. No pressure. I do put a lot of time, effort and dedication into the sport, club and country but it has always been a hobby for me. I have always enjoyed my bowls so no matter how much time I spend on the green during practices, games or competitions it has never felt like hard work, which in my opinion makes it a lot easier.
3. Many say that bowls is a sport for all. Would you encourage people to have a go at playing bowls?
Yes 100%! Many people have the stereotypical opinion that bowls is an 'older' sport. To be honest, that is mostly true but that doesn't mean that people of all ages can’t play and enjoy it. Bowls is such a social sport that everyone can enjoy! For me personally, bowls is the one thing that brought me out of my shell. Anyone that knows me now won’t believe what I am about to say, but I used to be very shy when I was young. Through bowls I am now a lot more confident in meeting new people. I can’t lie to you, you can’t get me to be quiet now!
4. Do you prefer playing indoor or lawn bowls?
Indoor bowls every day of the week! I am scared of getting my hair wet outdoors. Haha!
5. How many bowls do you have and what brand are they?
I have a few sets which Taylor Bowls supply for me. I prefer to play with Taylor Ace because I like the line they take however Taylor Bowls Ltd are always very helpful in helping me decide on what set suits me best.
6. Are you excited to be competing in the Just 2019 World Indoor Bowls Championships?
I am very much looking forward to play again this time round in the Just 2019 World Indoor Bowls Championships. The 2018 tournament was my first experience of the competition and I think this year I will a little bit more settled and be able to enjoy the experience a bit more.
7. Are there any other competitors you’re excited to see play? Or any matches you’re particularly excited about?
I wouldn't want her to know or think that I like her because I will never hear the end of it, but it has to be Katherine Rednalls doesn't it? Don't tell her I said this, but she is a class act!
8. How have you been preparing for the competition?
How do you actually prepare for a World Indoor Bowls Championship? Apart from putting in the hours on the green which like I have said, I do anyway as I enjoy it so much.
I did learn a valuable lesson in an event that took place on a few days that I wasn't competing last year however and I have been training to try and cope with that again this year. I have spent many hours preparing to drink Guinness from a can rather that draught. This may not seem like a big deal to anyone from the mainland but for Chloe Watson, born and bred in Northern Ireland, this is a tragic event. You can never beat a perfectly poured Pint of Guinness from a draught in a beaten up wee pub on the outskirts of Belfast!
9. What do you enjoy the most about competing at the World Indoor Bowls Championships? Or if it’s your first time, what do you enjoy the most about competing in general?
I think it is a little different with tournaments like these because they are self-qualified and not through your country, but seeing your flag on the score board with your name beside it or hearing the presenter say 'From Northern Ireland'. There is always something special in that and it makes me so proud to be from our wee country.
10. Do you have any predictions for the Championships that you’d like to share?
The competition is tough with a lot of fantastic players, but how does this sound for a sure bet? Best looking competitor: Chloe Watson. Easy, get yourself to early doors at the bookie!
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