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OBITUARY: DAVID J. BRYANT CBE (SOMERSET)

27th August, 2020 by Matt Wordingham

Bowls England is saddened to learn of the passing of the man regarded by many as the greatest lawn bowler of all time, David J. Bryant CBE, at the age of 88.

David won five Commonwealth Games gold medals, eleven World Outdoor Bowls Championship medals and nine titles at the World Indoor Championships during an illustrious career.

He was widely recognisable as the face of bowls and was renowned for using a tobacco pipe whilst playing. He was awarded the MBE and then CBE for services to lawn bowls.

David Tucker, Bowls England Board Chair, said: “David was an icon for many decades, whose name was synonymous with our sport. He was well-respected by all who knew him. I was fortunate to compete against David on the green on many occasions, often coming on the wrong end of the scoreline, but a match against him was always a pleasure and includes many memories that I will never forget. My thoughts are with David’s family and friends at this time.”

David claimed his first Commonwealth Games successes at the 1962 British Empire and Commonwealth Games in Perth, Australia, where he secured Gold in both the singles and fours. He went on to claim singles gold in 1970, 1974 and 1978.

He won the inaugural World Outdoor singles title at Kyeemagh, Australia, in 1966 and went on to win a further four gold medals at the World Outdoor Championships (two singles, one triples and one team), securing eleven medals in total (five gold, three silver, three bronze) between 1966 and 1988.

At the World Indoor Championships, David won no fewer than nine World Championships – three singles and six pairs titles with Tony Allcock OBE.

He also helped his county, Somerset, win the Middleton Cup on numerous occasions, as well as being crowned National Champion on 16 further occasions:

  • National Singles – 1960, 1966, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975
  • National Pairs – 1965, 1969, 1970
  • National Triples – 1966, 1977, 1985
  • National Fours – 1957, 1968, 1969, 1971

Bowls England sends its condolences to wife Ruth and the rest of David’s family and friends. His service to the sport will not be forgotten and he will be missed by many.