From tin shed to 'bursting' bowls club
FROM a tin shed to equal best bowls club in Australia. That's the Gold Coast's Helensvale. It shares the 2016 Bowls Australia Club of the Year award with West Australia's Manning Memorial.
In 1994, Helensvale had grown from the tin shed it had when it was founded in 1979 but it still had only 200 members and was the smallest club in Queensland. Now it has a 20,000 membership and is among the largest.
"We have just continued to grow,” says CEO Len Blunt. "Now we have 210 poker machines.”
The club is "bursting at the seams”, he says. Documents had been lodged with the city council to expand the clubhouse into the carpark, with another carpark planned.
Helensvale's playing strength reads like a bowls who's who - internationals Nathan Rice, Brett Wilkie (recently appointed as Bowls Queensland CEO), Mark Casey, Lynsey Clarke.
"We have an incentive scheme if they play for the state or for Australia,” Blunt said.
"Queensland representatives receive $250 a day and national squad members receive $1000 a day while in competition. I don't know any other club in Queensland to do that.”
THE renamed Bowls Premier League, expanded to include an extra competition in New Zealand, is providing 20 hours of live television coverage, starting last night until Friday. It runs daily from 5pm to 10pm on Fox Sports.
The New Zealand event is in February. That country's Blackjacks took home the hefty prizemoney last year. The current Australian version is as usual at Brisbane's Pine Rivers.
A change this year, the competition's fourth, is a rule that requires a female in each team.
The Premier League is a departure from the usual staid bowls coverage, with comedians and razzamatazz. Traditionalists will regret the change but they will have no qualms about the quality of play. It is something to see.
HE WAS the best bowler never to play for New South Wales. When Terry McGuire won the state singles title, keen judges saw him as a natural for the state team. Inexplicably he was overlooked and had to be content with taking regional titles and tournaments galore.
Terry McGuire, forever South Lismore, died last week,
The bowls world has lost a true champion.
Leading the way
FORMER Ballina junior Aaron Teys has been named lead for world champion Aron Sherriff in the New South Wales side to play ACT at Dapto next Monday-Tuesday.
THE Past Presidents, who have relaxed membership to include secretaries, are inviting those who have held these offices, whether in the area or not, to join them.
Says publicity officer Ian Hill: "Our members enjoy four meetings/bowls days a year and a couple of days where we challenge other groups.” Hilly can be contacted on 6628 0761.
Dave Roder, of Evans Head/Woodburn, was elected president at the recent AGM. Other officers are - Vice-presidents: John Day (Broadwater), Mary Gibson (Broadwater); secretary, Joan Hollingsworth (Ballina RSL); treasurer, Alec Pring (Broadwater); bowls secretary, Denise Wallace (South Lismore); committee, Judy Soward (South Lismore), Barry Sheppard (Alstonville); publicity officer, Ian Hill (Alstonville); newly-elected patrons, Jim Verrall, John Swain (long standing members).
RAYMOND Terrace's Natasha Scott, who has international gongs in every colour in all disciplines of our game, has a chance to add one that has eluded her - the world champions of champions singles. As the Australian champion of champions she will contest this major event on November 14-20 at Helensvale.
If she succeeds she will be the third Australian woman to take this world title. It was won previously by Karen Murphy and Kelsey Cottrell.