Holmfirth-born journalist Oliver Thompson who now lives and works 8,000 miles away is to represent his adopted home – the Falkland Islands – on the world stage of indoor bowls.

Oliver, who works as a journalist and media officer in the islands, prepared for the event with club members at the Halifax Bowling Club before departing to compete in Guernsey, where the World Bowls Indoor Championship will be held for the first time.

Oliver said: “Sadly, our indoor facilities in the Falkland Islands are limited as we tape a few mats together in the secondary school corridor, so to be able to practice and use the indoor facility at Halifax was great, and we must thank all club members who we’ve been able to have friendly games against in the build up.

“We’ve done our best to prepare ahead of the games, and I’m feeling confident I’ll give it my best shot. It’ll be an incredible experience regardless.”

Guernsey is no stranger to hosting international competitions and last year Huddersfield Hub reported on Oliver’s exploits as part of the men’s triples team which won a silver medal for the Falkland Islands in the NatWest Island Games.

This time, however, Oliver will competing solo in the men’s and will be paired up with Scottish international bowler Natalie McWilliams in the mixed doubles.

“Last year we had a team of six competitors and this year we have just me competing against some of the biggest names in international indoor bowling,” said Oliver.

“It is a bit daunting but years of working in TV has helped to manage nerves and to adapt to new environments. I’m just looking forward to starting to be honest!”

Oliver Thompson

Speaking about his pairing in the mixed doubles competition, he added: “I am looking forward to working with Natalie. She’s an experienced bowler who has won national titles so there’s a lot I can learn and develop from to improve my game in the future.”

After working with Kirklees Local TV reporting on Huddersfield Town matches and then taking on the role of media officer at Halifax Town, Oliver moved to the windswept and isolated Falkland Islands in 2020 to further his journalism and media career. It was here he began to pick up and play bowls regularly.

“When I was younger, I used to go and watch my grandparents play crown green bowls and always wanted to play but never had the confidence to give it a go,” he said.

“It was a great opportunity when moving over as one of the first pieces I produced for TV was the reopening of the Falkland Islands bowls club.

“After taking part in the demonstration for the cameras, I was hooked and continued to attend in my own time. Now here I am representing the islands against other nations!”

Despite leaving four years ago, Holmfirth remains home for Oliver, who added “I’ve been able to do some incredible things with my career and in my personal life such as travelling around the world but my home and where I grew up will never change!

“Holmfirth is a great place to live with a close-knit community – similar to Stanley in the Falkland Islands.”

The World Bowls Indoor Championships begin on Sunday April 21 and end on April 27 and – according to World Bowls – will be live streamed to a collective audience of over 100,000 people around the world.

The competition will see some of the biggest names in bowls compete including former world champion Ali Merrien MBE.