When Bill Hobart became a national champion - aged 19

Bill Hobart.
Bill Hobart.

It has been dismissed as the sport for old men and women, but Bill Hobart proved that wrong by becoming a national champion aged just 19.

Back in 1967, the bowls player successfully negotiated 11 rounds to be crowned the English Bowls Federation’s two-wood singles champion.

That’s not bad for someone who had only taken up the sport four years earlier while still at school.

But it wasn’t all plain sailing for Bill - who also played football for Old Bostonians in the local Saturday league - in the competition.

He had to come from 21-16 down to beat Durham’s J. Fearnie in the final.

And in the semi it was much of the same.

He was 20-19 down to A.S. Low of Nottingham Caledonians.

But after his opponent lay shot, Bill took his wood out to win 21-20.

“It doesn’t bother me,” he told The Standard, when asked about the pressure he faced.

For Bill, he went one step further than the previous year, where he reached the semis.

And he didn’t have far to go to lift the title as it was being held in Skegness.

On his way to the title, he knocked his own father - county player Ray - out of the event.

But their were no hard feelings as father and son teamed up to reach the final four of the doubles.

Indeed, it was Ray who introduced his son to the sport just four years earlier.

Bill was a member of the Sleaford Road team at the time of his success, and was a regular player in the Boston League for them.

And he was quick to state that bowls was far from a game just for those in their later years of life.

He said that attitude is adopted only by people who don’t understand the game.

Of course, this was just the start for Bill who went on to have a fine career in the sport.

Among his achievements was competing for England at the Commonwealth Games in Brisbane back in 1982.