Mal Evans was born at 62, Rees Street, Gelli in the Rhondda on 8 November 1937, the son of Clifford (‘Cliff’) Maldwyn Evans (1904-1985) and his wife Haulwen, née Evans, (1905-1993). He rose to fame in June 1972 when he was crowned world singles bowls champion on the outdoor greens at Worthing, Sussex.
He came from a bowling family and both his father and uncle, John Morgan Evans (1917-1985), were very accomplished bowlers winning the Welsh pairs championship in 1952. John was also an international bowler, and Cliff was considered by many to be the best uncapped bowler in Wales.
Mal Evans, described as a ‘stylish left-hander’, played at the Gelli Park club in the Rhondda and he was nominated to compete in the inaugural world championships at Kyeemagh, Sydney, Australia in 1966, where he was placed fourth. In the second championship held in 1972 he succeeded in winning 12 out of 15 games to take the title, where he recorded a comfortable 21-6 win against David Bryant (b. 1931), the defending champion. Mal Evans was also an international bowler, and represented Wales from 1965 until 1983.
His brother Gwynfryn (‘Gwyn’) (b. 1931), a chartered public finance accountant and chief executive of Rhondda Borough Council until his retirement, was also an international player who represented his country from 1967 until 1985, won a bronze medal in the rinks competition held at the Edmonton Commonwealth Games, Canada in 1978, the Welsh indoor singles title in 1978, and captained the Welsh team in the world championship in Melbourne in 1980.
Strangely, Mal Evans never won the Welsh national singles championship, but succeeded in winning the Gibson-Watt Welsh Open Singles at Llandrindod Wells in 1964, 1966 and 1967. However, he and brother Gwyn took the national pairs championship in consecutive years in 1966 and 1967. Mal Evans was an iconic figure in Welsh bowling circles supporting both the indoor and outdoor games as a selector and committee man, and he was widely respected by all his opponents.
Educated at Ton Pentre infants and junior School and Pentre Secondary School, Mal Evans graduated in history at the University College of North Wales Bangor in 1961. He subsequently trained as a teacher in Cardiff, and commenced his career at Townhill, Swansea, before securing a post at Llwyncelyn Secondary Modern School, Porth. He later joined the staff of Tonypandy Grammar School, and ended his career as head of the middle school at Ferndale Comprehensive School. He and his brother Gwyn both served as deacons at Hebron Welsh Baptist Chapel, Ton Pentre.
Following a protracted illness Mal Evans died at his home, Aelfryn, Upper Canning Street, Ton Pentre on 30 December 2009, aged 72 years, leaving a widow Mary (née Jones), whom he married in 1967, and who died in 2010, and a son Gareth Evans. After a service at Carmel Welsh Independent Chapel, Treherbert, where his father-in-law the Revd Emrys M. Jones (1909-1985), once ministered, Mal Evans was cremated at Glyntaff Crematorium, Pontypridd on 11 January 2010.
Published date: 2012-04-30
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