TWO more Zone One clubs have protested to Bowls NSW that its near 30% jump in capitation fees will result in bowlers walking away from the sport.

The latest to express strong views are tiny Urbenville and the large Cabarita Beach.

Urbenville, the Northern Rivers district's smallest club with nine male bowlers, said holding on to its few members was vital to the club's continuance.

It intends subsiding bowlers - $20 each to men and women - in a bid to hold on to them.

The club is also critical of a lack of response by Bowls NSW to a letter the club sent more than 12 months ago seeking to amalgamate its men and women bowlers.

BACKGROUND: Bowls NSW in the 'dark ages', says Urbenville club

Tweed-Byron's Cabarita Beach is questioning - as Lismore Workers Sports was reported last week to have done - the need for administration at three levels - district, zone and state.

In a letter to state president Vince Beard, Cabarita Beach's board chairman Ian Crabb suggested bowls was over-governed, with the three administrative levels each adding to the fees bowlers pay.

"Like our politicians have learned recently, making such a large increase in charges will meet with resistance and I have no doubt that many of our older bowlers and others will consider their financial position, 'vote with their feet' and withdraw from bowls altogether," the Cabarita Beach chairman wrote in his letter to Mr Beard.

"The result will not only impact on your income but will undoubtedly impact on our financial position."

He ends his letter with: "I do look forward to observing the way that some of your increased funds are used in our region of the state as we will need some way of recouping our financial outlay and the loss of full bowling members in our club."

Cabarita Beach is currently working on providing a subsidy in a bid to hold on to its members.

JIM'S SAY: Fee hike could kill bowls some clubs

TAKE note, Bowls NSW, the groundswell of angry ill-feeling over your jump in fees is gaining momentum.

There is a general belief that bowlers - particularly the older ones on limited incomes - will give the game away altogether.

Our sport can't afford that. It has had declining numbers for years and a further spate of disappearances could mean the end of many clubs, the end of our game. And, if that happens, the end of Bowls NSW.

Bowls clubs have joined licensed clubs everywhere in the struggle to survive. They certainly don't need another nail in the coffin.

Bowls NSW expects the clubs to exist on a shoestring on what is left in club membership fees after the state, zone and district take their grab.

I agree when Cabarita Beach chairman Ian Crabb tells the NSW bosses he's looking forward to seeing how the increased funds are used in our neck of the woods. He's spot on in saying clubs will need a way to recoup losses in finance and bowling members.

In a column on January 28, I pointed out how Bowls NSW and Bowls Australia are top-heavy in administration. Tongue in cheek to emphasise the point, I said it was getting to the stage of more chiefs than Indians, that the administrators must have difficulty finding somewhere to sit.

I'll repeat how many are looking after our interests in Sydney:

  • seven board members,
  • the chief executive officer,
  • an executive secretary,
  • an office manager,
  • two membership administration officers,
  • a finance officer,
  • a sports development manager,
  • a sport co-ordinator,
  • a program co-ordinator,
  • a coaching administration co-ordinator,
  • a magazine marketing manager,
  • a communications co-ordinator, 
  • plus, I suppose, sundry others with less ostentatious titles.

It must cost a mint to maintain the administrative army.

Before asking the ordinary bowlers to pay more, a bit of pruning at the top wouldn't have gone amiss.

Bowlers rewarded

THE Sports Pass, a rewards card for bowlers, opens up millions-of-dollars in savings for Queensland bowlers and big financial benefits for their clubs.

The card, when presented to a variety of retailers and service providers, receives discounts not available to the general public.

Clubs and Bowls Queensland receive up to half of the card's value to help with development of the sport. In addition, rebates of between 3% and 50% on purchases made will be returned directly to the clubs by participating retailers.

The card is free to bowls club full and life members and $25 a year for supporters.

"The card will give members access to potentially millions-of-dollars in consumer benefits for free," said Bowls Queensland CEO Doug Evans at the Sports Pass launching.

PLENTY TO GRIN ABOUT: Peter Ayres and Rowan Norris won the Tweed-Byron District men’s pairs championship at Brunswick Heads earlier this month.
PLENTY TO GRIN ABOUT: Peter Ayres and Rowan Norris won the Tweed-Byron District men’s pairs championship at Brunswick Heads earlier this month. Judith Tuckey

Top squad

BOWLS Australia has named 34 bowlers to go into camp on the Gold Coast to trial for a spot in the national squad. They include the current squad of nine men and 10 women.

The women will go into camp from May 21-24, and the men from June 10-12.

Former Australian vice-captain Wayne Turley is back for the first time since 2011. Also in are 2013 Australian Open singles champ Aaron Wilson, recent world junior pairs championship winner Ben Twist, South Australia's former Australia A squad member Max Klenig and dual NSW Bowler of the Year Ray Pearse.

The women's squad has an average age of 18.9 years. It includes world junior singles and pairs champ Kritina Krstic, 20, the youngest ever Australian Indoor championship winner Jamie-Lee Worsnop, 18, and recent Australian rep Chloe Stewart, 19.

Splash of funds

UP IN the Top End, bowlers are rubbing their hands in glee.

The Northern Territory Government has given a $2 million handout to Darwin's two bowls clubs. The main club is using its share for a covered synthetic green.

The NT Health Minister, stressing that sport has a positive effect on health, said: "The great thing about lawn bowls is it's a sport which can be played at all levels across all age groups."



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