Interview with Ces Hope

In the eastern meditteranean you will find the beautiful island of Cyprus. it is an island famed for its rich turbulent history and it is one of the most popular and best places in the world to enjoy a holiday. On the south-west coast in the Greek influenced and controlled are is the Paphos region. Here you can visit many architectural sites which include the ruins of palaces, tombs and villas famed for the stunning mosaics. You can visit the stunning beaches or its rugged coastline, bath in the glorious sunshine or relax and enjoy the stunning hospitality of a number of high quality hotels built on the coast. Between two of the best hotels on the island lies four bowling greens.

The greens at the Athena Beach Hotel
The greens at the Athena Beach Hotel

They were laid sixteen years ago and have become the premier bowling venue outside of the UK and they are extremely popular with bowlers across all forms of the game.

The Constantinou Bros Athena Hotels complex is famed for its wonderful facilities and hospitality. It is also home to the 2nd running of a bowls festival created with the hotel by Ces Hope. This venue has played host to many international flat green competitions including the recent Atlantic Championships. It is only fitting that this venue is host to one of the best crown green bowls festivals.

This year’s Cyprus Bowls Festival is the culmination of 12 month’s hard work by Ces, the friendly and popular bowls organiser who has been organising bowling holidays for approaching 20 years. Ces has built on friendships to establish this festival and following on from the inaugural event last year it has proved again how popular it is to spend a bowling break under the Cypriot sun.

Just after the draw for the Men’s and Ladies Singles events I was able to catch up with Ces for a quick chat in the Neptune Bar of the Athena Beach Hotel.

Ces Hope
Ces Hope

“Well Ces, as we sit here enjoying the beautiful weather what are your thoughts so far of the festival in its second year”.

“To be honest, although everyone here is enjoying themselves, I’m slightly disappointed with the numbers. I think, in fact we all think, we have everything just about perfect. The greens are good, which is why people would want to go on a bowls holiday, the hotel is beyond superb, it is so clean and the food amazing. We have a very high percentage of repeat customers for our holidays and they all rave about the hotel and staff. With that and the good prize money on offer I’m a bit surprised that more don’t come over with us”.

“I must admit Ces the hotel is a bit special”.

“It is we were very lucky to find them all those years ago and we’ve developed a very good working relationship with them. In all the sixteen years we’ve been coming here I can’t remember anyone finding fault with the food, or the cleanliness of the hotel or the friendliness of the staff”.

“With what you’ve said about the hotel and staff I take it the hotel is happy to welcome you and your party”.

“Definitely, as I said the greens were laid 16 years ago and they’ve been added to as the hotel has seen how popular bowls is and they’ve invested further in the greens. We are the longest serving group still coming to the hotel and we were given a special award thanking us for our support of the venue”.

“Sounds like it one of those venues you want to visit again”.Cyprus Bowls Festival

“Of those who started coming with us over 10 years ago over 85% still do and we always welcome new people each year.  Our next holiday will be in November. It will be full by mid-summer. You can’t beat the climate, hotel, its staff or the greens. I can’t thank enough the people who support us by booking to come on the holidays. I can honestly say I’ve enjoyed their company as much as they’ve enjoyed ours”.

“Will the March festival be on the calendar as well?”

I’m pleased to say the hotel wants us back and the sponsors want to support us as well. Everyone has really enjoyed the week and I’m very happy to say the 3rd Festival will take place next year”.

It is without doubt one of the best venues for bowls in the world. The greens are difficult to play but sending the bowls corner to corner is no effort. The speed of the greens, seem to me, to be more reminiscent of quicker greens in our mid-summer.

I can honestly say that I have yet to hear of any negative opinions about the venue and everyone I spoke to are looking forward to visiting the hotel again as soon as they can. I can report that it was a sad time, as the hotel staff bid us a safe journey and a swift return, as we were waiting to climb aboard the coach to transfer us back to the airport. I know I’m waiting for details of the 2017 festival and will look forward flying back to the lovely island of Cyprus, the beautiful harbour of Paphos and the fantastic Athena Beach Hotel.

 

Steve Davies

Throughout his bowling career Steve has always supported the admin side of the game. As a club secretary, association secretary, county delegate on the BCGBA (National Governing Body) Management Committee, Merseyside champion in 2002 and Merseyside County President (2014-15) Steve has always been keen to promote the game especially through the broadcast of the game on TV or Internet. Steve set up the LIVE BOWLS YouTube channel and, through the LDBA, runs national competitions. Seeing an avenue to report and promote the game Steve set up the Bowls Observer on-line magazine after consulting with respected figures in the game and journalism.