A WORLD class boxer took up the challenge of a more genteel sport in Bournemouth on Saturday to celebrate the new season of bowls.

Steve Bendall, World Boxing Union middle-weight champion, did the honours of cutting the ribbon on the first day of play at King’s Park Bowls Club, in celebration of the bowling green re-opening for games in 2014.

The club’s president, Bob Brunton, said that he felt the opening event, which also included refreshments and a barbecue, went exceptionally well.

He added: “I have known Steve for about a year now and we are really good friends.

“I mentioned to him about whether he would like to open one of our matches and he said that we just had to name the place and time and he would be there for us.

“We also arranged a game of triples, which he was there for, and we had a barbecue later in the day.”

Bob said that the green is now open seven days a week until September, from around 11am to 6pm each day and that they are always looking for new members.

He also said that they were joined by Ian Wadley, community fundraiser for Julia’s House, which the club supports as the president’s chosen charity.

Boxer Bendall, 40, from Westbourne returned to the ring in December 2013, to compete for the WBU middleweight title.

For more information on King’s Park Bowls Club, contact Bob on 07864 096036.