The Bowlr Membership & League Management System for Indoor & Outdoor Bowls clubs

Bowlr Spotlight Series: Ken Joy, Club Manager, Dolphin IBC

Categories: Bowls

Welcome to this all-new blog series, where we will be interviewing managers and club admins from our community of Bowlr clubs. 

This month, we’re interviewing Ken Joy from Dolphin IBC in Poole, to learn about how he got into bowls, as well as his plans for Christmas. Let’s get started!  

How long have you been the Manager at Dolphin IBC?

I started on January 1st 2019.

When did you first become a member of the club? 

March 2015.

Who is your all-time favourite bowler and why? 

Bowling has only been a big part of my life since 2018, but as a young boy I remember watching Commonwealth bowls on the TV (plus every other sport!). I recall seeing David Bryant, pipe in mouth, winning the gold. More recently, the first World Champs Final I watched on TV having started bowling myself was won by Alex Marshall. So, a long way of answering your question would be David Bryant and Alex Marshall.

What’s your favourite thing about being a part of the bowls community? 

Being one of the youngest! Learning from the older, more experienced bowlers. Mixing with a huge variety of people, all with fascinating stories and life experiences. Being competitive, whilst also enjoying the game for what it is (great fun) and what it isn’t (life and death).

Are there any notable moments in your bowls career? 

Nothing major at all. I will always remember my first outdoor season (2017) when, as a newbie at Branksome Park Bowling Club, Poole I managed to fluke all three competitions I entered. Going through that season undefeated will be something I’ll never repeat, but will also be something that can never be taken away.

In the following outdoor season (2018), I entered my first tournament (Poole Open) and lost in the Singles Final. In 2019, with my Branksome Park colleague (Chris Dennis), we won the Men’s Pairs and in the same season with two more Branksome Park colleagues (Jim Garner and John Pinson), we won the Bournemouth & District Men’s Triples.

Following a couple of lean years, I will do my best to challenge for some more prizes locally and nationally during the summer outdoor season.

What got you interested in bowls in the first place?

I had the odd roll up at Cosham Bowling Club, Portsmouth with my dad, some 20 - 30 years ago, when he took early retirement and started bowling. But it wasn’t until he had to stop bowling because of Motor Neurone Disease, that a friend here in Poole asked if I fancied going to an Open Day at Dolphin IBC in January 2015. 

He bailed on me with 30 minutes to go, but I went along nonetheless. I thought the facilities were great, signed up for the five weeks of coaching, carried on with the new bowler league and then played in a league every other week on a Wednesday evening. 

Joining Branksome Park Bowling Club, Poole, in the summer of 2017 was the turning point for my relationship with bowls. I LOVED the outdoor season, fluked three club competition wins and I was hooked. The same season, my doppelganger (Chris Dennis – 12 years older than me and looks it!) also joined the club. We both a have a similar outlook on sport and an eagerness to do things differently. 

The members at Branksome Park have supported us with our ideas (both crazy and not so crazy) and the result has been that we have built upon the existing great foundations. We’ve created what is arguably the best run, most forward-thinking and welcoming outdoor bowls club in Dorset – something that I am extremely proud to have played a small part in facilitating. 

Tell us a bit about your background.

I love sport – always have done and always will do. Football, cricket, and swimming especially. I’ve been a Chelsea fan since 1970 (I don’t remember watching it, but I must have watched Chelsea vs Leeds United in the 1970 FA Cup Final). 

Born in Portsmouth in 1965, I spent every waking moment during my childhood playing or watching sport. I was a reasonable goalkeeper, and reasonable opening batsman. Then, in my teens, swimming started to take over. I spent six months training in Australia (Fremantle, Western Australia) leading up to the 1988 British Olympic swimming trials. Unfortunately, I swam like a donkey. 
I then decided to train as a physiotherapist (1989-1992), where I met my future wife, Wendy, who was in the year above me. We have three beautiful daughters, Emily, Victoria and Charlotte. I worked as a chartered physiotherapist and ran my own training business alongside this (from 2002 - 2021), which has now ended. I started a new business with two colleagues in April 2020, which has been going well.

If you could have dinner with anyone (living or dead), who would it be?

My dad, who sadly passed away with Motor Neurone Disease in March 2016, Tommy Cooper, Eric Morecambe, Johan Cruyff and Paul Merton. 

What would you cook for them?

I wouldn’t cook as my wife and three daughters are all superb chefs. However, if pushed to do it myself, I would go with a lovely Sunday roast – British lamb with all the trimmings.

What are your other hobbies, aside from bowls? 

I run my own business with two colleagues, which delivers continuing professional development (CPD) to therapy professionals in UK and Europe. Thankfully they do most of the day-to-day work, which allows me to work at Dolphin IBC.

My wife and I enjoy visiting Scotland whenever possible – walks in the wilderness or along deserted sandy beaches, and hours spent watching golden eagles and majestic stags or looking for dolphins. It really is a wonderful country and just a long drive up the M6 away.

If you could live anywhere else in the world, where would it be?

Isle of Harris, Outer Hebrides, Scotland – I defy anyone to visit and not fall in love with the most magical place on Earth that both my wife and I have ever visited. Unbelievable! Google ‘Luskentyre’ and you will see photos you will not believe are from Scotland.

Name one item that you couldn’t live without.

A newspaper or phone to catch up with news and sport from around the world every day.

Do you have any pets?

In May 2020, our youngest daughter was going to embark on two years of travelling and volunteering around the world. The COVID-19 pandemic brought these well-laid plans to an abrupt halt, but having wanted a dog ever since she could talk (and Mum and Dad always saying no), she finally bought her own dog in December 2020. 

Harvey the cockapoo is a lively addition to the Joy family and I now find myself even lower in the household pecking order. With his lovely, outgoing personality, he is adored by all the family and everyone who visits us. He’s been well worth the 22-year wait!

What’s your hidden talent?

I used to be unbeatable at crazy golf. If you’ve not been to Sandbanks, Poole, they have (in my opinion) the greatest crazy golf course anywhere. For decades I remained untouchable. My daughters would regularly try to beat me, but to no avail. 

Then, one sunny summers day, my eldest daughter (who regularly finished last each game), broke my lifetime winning streak and will not let me forget it. Since then, I have lost a small handful of times to my daughters and the odd family friend. If there is anyone reading this that would like a game, I am very happy to accept the challenge.

Share a surprising fact about yourself.

In 1987, I won the “Mr Endurance Challenge’ on an 18-30 holiday with a few swimming friends in Ibiza, San Antonio. 

What’s your favourite time of year and why? 

Mid-winter, in Scotland, snowed in with my wife, Harris gin and tonic in hand – absolute bliss.

If you won the lottery, how would you spend the money? 

After buying a house in Luskentryre (see previous answers), I would take the family to Australia (flying First Class) and show them the great country I visited way back in 1987/1988. I have always admired the Australian attitude to life and sport. Plus, with half of my mother’s family having emigrated back in the 1980s, we would be able to catch up with some relatives that we very rarely get to see in person.

What are you planning for Christmas?

As quiet a Christmas as possible. Family and friends, a few glorious Harris gin and tonics, board games, and (hopefully) watching Chelsea win a few games.

What is the one food item you absolutely have to have on your Christmas dinner table?

Sprouts. And more sprouts!

Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions, Ken. Wishing you a very Merry Christmas… with plenty of sprouts! 

Want to be featured in our next Spotlight blog post?

If you’d like to be interviewed for the Bowlr Spotlight series, please get in touch with Andy ([email protected]). Thanks for reading!