Getting to know Brian Marshall
Many of you will know the voice of live streaming and recognise comments such as “my friend” , “that was a beautiful bowl there” and “it’s [the bowl] gone to a good home”, but do you know the person behind the voice? If you haven’t already, meet Brian Marshall, BQ Board Member, live bowls commentator and overall bowls advocate.
Brian has been in the business of green keeping for 50 years, after spending his first 13 years on golf courses and the rest of the time in the bowling fraternity. He played golf until the ‘80s then took up bowls while he was working at West Epping Bowling Club in Sydney. He had been doing the greens for Jack High 1988 and the Capita, which was the equivalent of what the Australian Open is today.
Initially, Brian was only a week-to-week bowler. However, in his first year as a member of Pennant Hills, he won the B-Grade pairs, a mean feat in those days. After that, he won a few club championships, moved to Queensland and continued green keeping and playing bowls. He bowled at Tamborine Mountain initially and then played at other clubs where he worked and even spent 12 months playing out of Capalaba. Being near the Gold Coast, the event Brian looks forward to the most every year is the district sides, where it is great to catch up with the ‘country cousins’.
Today, he is a member at Beaudesert and Canungra Bowls Clubs. Brian feels he was lucky enough to have played many tournaments, won a few and “lost a lot”! He has always enjoyed his bowls and the amount of people he has met.
“Being in administration as a Bowls Queensland board member, you experience meeting many enthusiastic people, which is good, because unfortunately, in our game you do hear a lot of negativity,” Brian said.
“I don’t know how you get the negativity as there are so many great players and positives in our game”.
While Brian’s green keeping business and playing bowls keeps him busy, he still finds time to support the sport he loves by volunteering in various roles.
“I am very lucky where I am as President of the Gold Coast Tweed District as I work with an incredible board there.
“ Our passion, like Bowls Queensland, is that we just want to promote the game of bowls and get it out there to as many people as we possibly can.
“That’s the motivating factor, to promote playing our wonderful game to more people”.
Brian is very involved with live streaming bowls and feels rewarded when clubs talk to him about the positives regarding their participation rates increasing.
“Live streaming bowls has increased the awareness of bowls and we have a rapidly growing audience of people who tune in from all over Australia and our global reach is increasing too.
“People watch live bowls on Facebook, then go along to their local club and try it for themselves.”
Brian sees a lot of younger people rolling up all the time, proving the point that bowls can be fun, exciting and competitive.
“It is fantastic to see them experiencing ‘our game’ for the first time ever, because they have been watching it on Facebook,” he said.
Probably the most frustrating thing that Brian hears all the time is that bowls is just an old person’s game. “No, it’s not, it’s not at all”, he said.
The tip Brian would give to young players today is to enjoy your game. Brian thinks that sometimes people forget that bowls is enjoyable. While he knows it’s nice to win, bowls is one game you won’t win every time, so the most important thing is to just enjoy your bowls and support your club. Brian has met many great characters in the game of bowls.
“No one lives in each other’s pocket, but each time you meet you pick up where you left off, even if it’s been 12 months since you have seen them,” he said.
“It’s basically just like you were talking to them yesterday.
“It shows the camaraderie of our sport, which is a pleasing aspect of the game and makes playing bowls feel like you belong to a family.
Brian added that probably one of the most rewarding moments he had while doing the live streaming was when he was covering the district sides a couple of years ago, Leichardt District v North Queensland.
“The husband of a bowler playing on the day showed me a picture of their granddaughter running around at home watching Grandma playing bowls on TV and calling out ‘Draw a shot, Grandma!’ to her on the TV”.
Brian continues to be a key person in the promotion of bowls and encourages anyone to “get more involved in their sport, as the rewards of being a part of a bowls club are well worth it, my friend”.