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Watch Acle bowls on the internet

PUBLISHED: 08:55 21 January 2010 | UPDATED: 16:21 30 June 2010

Some might class it as the sporting equivalent of watching paint dry.

But live coverage of the slow-moving action at the Acle Indoor Bowls Club has gained a fascinated global audience - thanks to the power of the internet.

Some might class it as the sporting equivalent of watching paint dry.

But live coverage of the slow-moving action at the Acle Indoor Bowls Club has gained a fascinated global audience - thanks to the power of the internet.

As members of the club at Acle, near Great Yarmouth, sedately propel their jacks and gently prowl the rinks they are being shown live around the world through four webcams.

And as members wave to distant family relatives watching them on their computers fears have been jokingly raised that it will not be long before a streaker quickens the pace of computer users.

It is believed that Acle is the first indoor club in the world to set up webcams broadcasting live continuous footage of games.

Since the cameras, which cover three rinks and a scoreboard, started operating at the beginning of the year more than 14,000 separate web hits have been recorded.

As well as far flung family members being able to watch their relatives show off their bowls skills, the webcams have proved a great success in drumming up more interest in the club.

After watching the live coverage a bowls club in Perth, Australia, has requested to play an Ashes style tournament against Acle and a curious web user in New York has asked for the rules of the game to be sent to him.

People in Germany and Canada also regularly log on their computers to watch sedate matches and the gentle celebrations of winning teams.

The webcams were set up after the success of the club's website which was designed to increase the club's profile and has had about 52,000 web hits.

World championship bowls stars Billy Jackson and Debbie Stavrou have since been broadcast round the globe when they played at the club, which was opened in 1993 and now has more than 600 members.

Club secretary Denis Goodley said: “Some of the members do wave to the webcams as they play but they soon forget they are on as the games go on.

“We have not had a streaker yet but I think it won't be long before we get one!

“The webcams have been a great success in letting people sit at home and watching our members play.

“As a club we always thinking ahead and we are proud to think we are the first indoor bowls club in the world to set up live web cams.”

When the men's president Alan Casburn takes to the rinks he can wave to his daughter Philippa who watches him live all the way from her home in Florida.

He said: “It is weird thinking she is watching me play - but I do not feel any extra pressure.”

The webcam live footage can be viewed by logging onto www.acle-indoor-bowls.org.uk

The Acle Indoor Bowls Club webcams are the latest internet sensation to hit the region - although it is arguable that some of the other footage is more exciting than viewing ends and rinks.

At the end of last year Farm Park and Wild in Northrepps enticed world wide web users with their live images of Norfolk black and Norfolk bronze turkeys being reared for Christmas.

In 2004 Wells harbour set up webcams so boat owners could check that their vessels were moored and secured properly.

From 2006 the animal antics at the Pensthorpe nature have delighted people from Tokyo to Tennessee with web images of rare species of bird such as the whiteheaded duck and Australian black swans.

In 2005 Coastcam was launched in the region with webcams covering beaches in Great Yarmouth, Gorleston, Hunstanton, Pakefield.

Dog lovers logged on in their droves in 2002 after a puppy webcam was set up in a kennel in Snetterton's National Canine Defence League and screened on the EDP website.

Sadly for Lowestoft a webcam blunder led to images of foodstalls being shown on the internet instead of panoramic views of the town's beach in 2003.

Do you know of any other unusual webcam feeds in the region? Contact the EDP by emailing newsdesk@archant.co.uk, call 01603 772433 or write to Letters, EDP, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE.


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