|World Exclusive - TV Commentator Cass Edwards|
|Written by Dominic Gall|
|Wednesday, 21 April 2010|
TV Commentator Cass Edwards
"When Matchroom sport decided upon the Weber Cup and the World Tenpin Masters it wasn't long before I had the call to join the team on a show which I've been with for 10 years now......and 10 years with Nick Halling..omg"One person on my list of people to interview has been the voice of bowling in the UK for many years now and finally I got a chance to interview the one and only Cass Edwards and asked him about his career in the sport and how he became the TV commentator we know today. I had previously interviewed Cass at the World Tenpin masters and Weber cup events in Barnsley for the podcasts talktenpin produce but this was the first time I'd had the chance to find out more about the man in a more in depth article for our website. Here's what the man himself had to say.
So Cass where did it all start in bowling for you?
Having been an avid open bowler at school and able to roll 140 regularly I was dragged into my first handicap league at 17 at Ambassador lanes, Edgware, NW London by an enthusiastic centre Manager, Bruce Ford, yes he of the Ilkeston memorial tournament. My first league seasons average was 151...and a trophy.
When did you first get a chance to see some top class bowling?
One evening in 1970 I was taken to nearby Wembley bowl and saw the top scratch 5 man league in London..the Major City league a league with many USAF 200 average players from the nearby West Ruislip air base and the UK top players like the big hooking ball of Brian Michael and Chris Buck to name just two.
Did visiting Wembley give you a taste of what could be possible for your game?
I wanted to be that good too. It wasn't long before I was asked to join a team and soon averaged 190 there and also at a 4 man team league in Harrow where I ended up with 279 high game and 3rd high ave.of 193.
By this time I had experience of bowling in Europe as the team was sponsored and our travel/bowling expenses were all paid...sweet. Bernie Caterer then asked me to join his team managed by a certain Keith Hale who ran the pro shop at Airport bowl. This team included Brian Michael and several other GB team members.
When did you feel you were ready to try out for the national team?
With the World Championships due at Tolworth in 1975 many players joined a national ranking circuit to make the squad. Luckily I managed to finish 3rd in the trial events and made the squad with others players I had idolised years before....Brian and Bernie, Chris and Geoff Buck. The team managed to miss the silver medal by 1 pin and we settled for the bronze but Bernie and Brian ripped the lanes open and won the doubles gold......breaking new ground for British bowling.1975 was a good year for you then?
Carrying a 200 ave in three different London centres helped me win the Britsh Matchplay at the Airport bowl earlier that year beating French high roller Bernard Pujol with the help of an 8 bagger in the last game. This event of course was a forerunner of the established London Int. using the same matchplay format.So what was next?
1976 saw a career change for me and was unable to play many leagues or tournaments and so was kind of semi retired but did manage to win a gold doubles medal in the World Corporate games shooting 700 at Lewisham.....unheard of.??
In the mid 1980's it was kind of time to get back into the game. So joined with some old team friends to start the long road back to the top. Keith Hale also invited me to write a topic in the World of Tenpin magazine so I took my chance to tell everyone my opinions of the state of play of the English game which at the time was pretty poor.
The national association and Proprietors had the attitude that if you had a 60ft lane and 10 pins to bowl at that was all they needed to provide. Services were very poor as were attitudes to lane conditioning which were often optional, for example. The 1989 BTBA nationals at Cardiff Superbowl were anything but super. Lanes oiled to 8 feet instead of 8 metres.....oops what an error. How lucky I was to roll 725 and win the doubles with Steve Wright.
Two years later in the Nationals we again suffered the apathy of the powers that be, when we were told by BTBA officials that our lane, where the head pin and 3 pin touched each other on re-spot every frame was,...(wait for it)....."within BTBA tolerances" .......haha ...Before hanging up my shoes I had chances to play and win all over Europe and play in the USA......start the UK Seniors tour programme and enjoy most of those 40 odd bowling years.
Television and UK bowling really didn't exist as bowling was kept a minority sport by its governing body. The most we ever saw was few PBA games shown on a sports network now closed. Suddenly then came a channel called LIVE TV... who made up a bowling challenge called PIN MONEY. Someone (Mario Joseph) suggested they contact me to help with techie stuff as I had just qualified on a BTBA Lane maintenance course and knew ALL about lane reading and dressings....apparently. The day of Player Power was on its way.
I guess then that work lead to other TV jobs?
I ended up doing commentary on a fun bowling show with the now famous Richard Bacon who was just staring his media career. The Silk Cut/British Open/and a LIVE PBA event in the next few years on various sports networks gave me some experience as the colour commentator , not that I ever thought it would take off...but suddenly someone was needed to step in and try to help and the bowling industry had nobody that had done it before. Eurosport TV asked me over to their Paris studios to voice live onto The Golden Bowling ball tour in Germany and the Les Lion event from Sweden.
And of course it all moved towards the job you have today?
When Matchroom sport decided upon the Weber Cup and the World Tenpin Masters it wasn't long before I had the call to join the team on a show which I've been with for 10 years now......and 10 years with Nick Halling..omg.
What other bowling programs have you worked on?
The last seven QUBICA/AMF World Cup shows have been added to my C.V. and likewise now again with Eurosport and the present PBA tour shows......it all looks good for bowling on TV..
So from small acorns large trees have grown in that area. With a new era of top players in the UK and Europe, recognition that tenpin bowling can be a decent TV alternative sport has been recognised and sponsors and TV producers have only just started....there is more to come.
Thankyou to Cass for this interview and remember you can hear Cass on the PBA shows on Eurosport 2 and of course on the Weber Cup later in the year.
|Last Updated ( Tuesday, 20 April 2010 )|
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