LOUIS RIDOUT reckons the only way is up as he bids to build on his 2018 Commonwealth bronze medal with a home Games on the horizon.

The 31-year-old Taunton native marked himself out as a rising star in the sport on the Gold Coast three years ago when winning fours bronze alongside David Bolt, Jamie Chestney and Sam Tolchard.

And with the coronavirus pandemic putting a temporary halt on the sport Ridout, who welcomed first child Isla in June of last year, has had plenty of time to reflect on his career to date from his home in Newton Abbot.

The result? He has developed a newfound determination to seize his chance on the world stage – and the once in a lifetime opportunity to win Commonwealth gold on home soil in Birmingham next year. 

“The last Commonwealth Games was a fantastic experience and one I thoroughly enjoyed – and that’s made me more determined now to keep my place,” said Ridout, who is supporting trailblazing nationwide initiative Bowls’ Big Weekend on May 28-31.

“It was fantastic to come away with a medal but you’re always thinking that you can do better.

“It’s a great opportunity to play on the home Leamington greens that we know and I think we’ve got the quality to challenge for those gold medals.

“I’d love to get into a final and win a gold, that would be a dream. I just want to play at this elite level as long as possible. I’ve reflected a little bit and thought maybe I should enter a few more world tournaments.

“I play a lot of club stuff, always have done, but I play so much and now I’ve got a child I think I need to prioritise nationals and world bowls events over club events.”

While 2020 afforded Ridout a welcome rest – even if his work at manufacturing company Gooch & Housego continued – he is glad to now be back on the greens after returning to action at local club Kings last month.

And he will step up his return during Bowls’ Big Weekend, where over 600 clubs across the country will open their doors to the public on Bank Holiday Weekend and allow individuals of all ages and backgrounds to try a new sport, have some fun and meet new people in a Covid-safe environment.

Ridout believes the timing couldn’t be more perfect and added: “It’s a great opportunity to showcase our sport on a national stage with so many clubs getting involved.

“Our sport can still be stereotyped as an old man’s game – but that’s not the case, and to get more youngsters involved will be ideal.

“A lot of people will want to spend this summer outside socialising and bowls is a great sport to do that – it’s inclusive and really enjoyable.”

Find your nearest participating club at www.bowlsbigweekend.com