Sleaford bowlers break world record with 60-hour continuous match

Sleaford Indoor Bowls Club members taking part in a world record attempt. Michael Baker (left) and Paul Roberts. EMN-170310-103156002
Sleaford Indoor Bowls Club members taking part in a world record attempt. Michael Baker (left) and Paul Roberts. EMN-170310-103156002

Aching limbs and sleep deprivation proved no barrier to determined Sleaford bowlers who smashed a world record last weekend.

The six-strong group of Jon Shand, Mike Baker, Steve Cambers, Jeff Smith, Tom Clarke and Paul Roberts set out to play the longest-ever pairs bowls match and go eight hours past the previous record of 52 hours, set in New Zealand.

Sleaford Indoor Bowls Club members taking part in a world record attempt. Paul Roberts (left) and Michael Baker. EMN-170310-103145002

Sleaford Indoor Bowls Club members taking part in a world record attempt. Paul Roberts (left) and Michael Baker. EMN-170310-103145002

Team 60 embarked on their daunting task on Thursday at 8am at Sleaford Indoor Bowls Club, with each pair playing two-hour stints and rotating to allow each an hour’s break between shifts.

They played through two long nights and three days before finally hitting their 60-hour target at a few minutes after 8pm on Saturday.

The CCTV footage of the two-and-a-half-day epic is to be sent off to the Guinness World Records this week and then the wait will begin for the world record to be officially verified.

Organiser Jon Shand said: “It felt really good to have done it, now we just have to wait and get it confirmed.

Sleaford Indoor Bowls Club members taking part in a world record attempt. Tom Clarke bowling watched by Jeff Smith. EMN-170310-103209002

Sleaford Indoor Bowls Club members taking part in a world record attempt. Tom Clarke bowling watched by Jeff Smith. EMN-170310-103209002

“It was quite emotional when we finished, though I think that was the exhaustion.

“I have done night shifts and am used to that, but I have never been that tired in my life.”

He added: “Although we had an hour off, we would only end up getting about half-an-hour or 40 minutes actual rest so the hardest thing was motivating ourselves to get back on the rink, particularly in the early hours.

“Saturday morning at about 4am was awful as everyone was getting tired, but by noon we knew we had broken the record so then we counted down from there.”

Sleaford Indoor Bowls Club members taking part in a world record attempt. Jeff Smith bowling watched by Tom Clarke. EMN-170310-103220002

Sleaford Indoor Bowls Club members taking part in a world record attempt. Jeff Smith bowling watched by Tom Clarke. EMN-170310-103220002

They were spurred on throughout the two-and-a-half day match by a dedicated support team and adjudicators who were tasked with officially witnessing the record attempt.

They were also given a revitalising foot rub on Friday evening, courtesy of Sleaford business, Sole Food, to set them up for the final 24-hour push.

“On Saturday we had quite a lot of people there and that made the difference,” Jon said. “It got easier and easier.

“We had such a great support team around us doing the logistics, bringing us food and drink, so we didn’t have to do anything but bowl.”

Team 60, from left, Steve Cambers, Tom Clarke, Jon Shand, , Mike Baker, Paul Roberts, Jeff Smith with club president David Hocking (centre) EMN-170310-103400002

Team 60, from left, Steve Cambers, Tom Clarke, Jon Shand, , Mike Baker, Paul Roberts, Jeff Smith with club president David Hocking (centre) EMN-170310-103400002

In accordance with the official rules, scores also had to be kept with Paul and Jeff running out resounding winners with an aggregate total of 471 points, ahead of Mike and Tom (339pts), and Jon and Steve (172pts).

“Even after 55 or 56 hours we were still quite competitive and that helped to keep us motivated,” Jon added.

As well as setting a new benchmark for bowls, and raising awareness of the sport, the group have so far raised around £2,000 which will be split between club coffers and for animal charity, the Dogstar Foundation.

If you would like to donate, visit their Facebook page (www.facebook.com/groups/SleafordTeam60) for details or email jon_shand@hotmail.com