The Ballina Sandflies celebrated their 30th anniversary at the Ballina RSL Bowling Club on Sunday.
The Ballina Sandflies celebrated their 30th anniversary at the Ballina RSL Bowling Club on Sunday. Greg Danvers

Sandflies bowl the critics over

THE Ballina RSL Sandflies, which in 1987 was predicted to fold, celebrated 30 years in fine fettle at their home turf of Ballina RSL Bowling Club on Sunday.

About 56 players enjoyed good company, played competitive bowls and in true Sandflies' style enjoyed a social get-together to celebrate the milestone.

Local clubs the Lismore Heights Stirrers, Alstonville Mafia and Lennox Head White Pointers joined their mates.

President of the Stirrers, Darryl Buggi, said: "The Sandflies are always a great bunch of blokes to play against. They're the only club that has their own song and flag.”

Life member Hans Willems recounted the story of the-then chairman of the Ballina RSL Men's Bowling Club in 1987 giving the Sandflies four months before the club would fold.

Thirty years on, the Sandflies are as strong as ever with more than 80 members on the books.

The Sandflies are a social group of bowlers, who bowl mainly with the Ballina RSL Men's Bowling Club but has members from Alstonville, Cherry Street, Lennox Head and other clubs in the region.

Social trips are arranged on a reciprocal basis to clubs on the Far North Coast, in South East Queensland and Brisbane.

The annual pilgrimage to Bribie Island, hosted by the Bongaree Pirates, was a highlight of the year.

Foundation and life member Alby Waldron told how the Sandflies grew out of a group of golfers who had tired of getting up before dawn for a Sunday game of golf.

Instead they met at the Ballina RSL Bowling Club for a mid-morning roll-up and a few ales after with mates, told many a tale, and enjoyed eachother's company.

"The Sandflies are a very social group of blokes who are made welcome wherever we travel, and we ensure our visitors have a very enjoyable time when they visit our club,” said Waldron, who also holds the post of treasurer.

"I am very proud that the Sandflies are in the position they are today and confident, given the quality of members we have, we'll continue for another 30 years.”



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