Tiny country town leads the way
IT HAS taken a tiny country town in Victoria to come up with a way to attract newcomers to bowls.
Tongala, population 1869, in the Goulburn Valley north of Melbourne, was lucky it employed Des Campbell as a part-time greenkeeper even if he'd never seen the sport before and had no intention of getting involved in a game he knew nothing about.
But it didn't take him long to see the club would survive only if it could get more players on the green. He knew a lot of people around Tongala and many had given up the more vigorous sports and no longer needed to follow their kids around their pastimes.
So he got together a group who, like him, had never played the game before.
And he shocked everyone by entering them as a team in pennants.
The old timers whined for a while but gradually came to accept playing against a lot of newcomers.
Says Des: "Obviously results were not great the first year of pennants but the enthusiasm of new bowlers to learn and have a great time, not to mention the understanding of opposing teams, has led to 35 new bowling members in 12 months.”
Thirty five new bowlers in a town with only 1869 people. It just shows what can be done.
SOUTH Lismore, with its Friday twilight Business Houses Bowls, has found a way of getting people on the greens. Twelve businesses each sponsor a team of five who play 18 ends in pairs and triples.
They find that once newcomers try the game, they're hooked on bowls. Two greens were near full when I joined them. I played with Alstonville's Liberty service station team and filled up with a tankful of bowls played in the right spirit.
A BALLINA team skipped by Alf Boston beat Evans Head's Luke Jones 23-14 in the final of the NRDBA Open Fours championship at Ballina RSL on Sunday.
In the reserve grade final at Lismore Workers Sports, the team of K. Scott took the title narrowly 23-22 from that of G. Rose.
The senior championship at Lismore City/Alstonville went to skip C. Lockhart's four who had a comfortable 30-19 win over S. Prasad's team in the final.
The district pairs will start this Saturday with the open at South Lismore, reserve at Casino RSM and seniors at East Lismore.
FOURTEEN years as a NRDBA match committee member - 12 of the years as chairman -was recognised by the district when it awarded George Newell a life membership.
"It is a fully deserved honour,” district president Jack Piper said. "The amount of work and long hours George puts in, particularly in the pennant season when he has collated and distributed the entire results by 6.30pm, is incredible.”
BALANCE, in bowls as in any sport, is of prime importance.
As bowlers get older, balance deteriorates and it's often lost at the time of delivery.
How often do you hear a cry from someone who says he can't put down two bowls the same? I'm no spring chicken and I regularly join that chorus. Blame it on the lack of balance.
Well, help is on the way. I've been using an excellent aid called the Bowlsmate that I find has improved steadiness at the time of delivery. It's a good looking, height-adjustable and rubber-tipped device that is used as a prop when delivering the bowl. There's no need to carry a "picker-up” - there's one attached.
Apart from the value in providing balance, this aid allows a bowler to get down lower so there's no "dumping” of the bowl.
For the dumpers there's that other fine device, the artificial arm. For those who want balance there's the Bowlsmate.
The Sydney manufacturers say it complies with the game's laws and doesn't need a permit or permission to use.
Want to improve that delivery? Email therese@ coachmanproducts.com.au
YAMBA'S John Luchetti is one of four finalists in Bowls NSW's award for Volunteer of the Year.
The others are Jenny Palmer (Neutral Bay), Bruce Diffey (Henty) and Cecily Johnson (Cumnock).
A member of Yamba club since 1998, John is a qualified coach who is known particularly for the work he does with disabled bowlers.
SCOTT Thulborn (Adelaide) has followed up the world singles champion of champions title he won on the Gold Coast in November, by taking out the rich Stewart Buttar pairs in New Zealand with 20-year-old Cabramatta rising star Corey Wedlock.
The result was as near as dammit, though. They just held on in the final to beat an over-the-ditch pair 13-12.
MY VIEW . . . on recruitment
I CAN imagine the whinges from the traditionalists when Tongala entered a team in pennants who'd never played bowls before. Spoiling the game for us, the oldies would howl.
And it might, too. There's no fun in beating a team who have never rolled down a bowl.
But even the hard-nosed traditionalists have learnt to accept they'd have no game if they didn't have enough players. Tongala had to get bowlers on the green or shut up shop.
Entering a team of tyros in pennants must have seemed to be a strange way of building up playing numbers but it worked
And if a tiny bush town of 1869 men, women and kids can pick up 35 new members in a year, it shows what Lismore (population 29,413 in 2015) could do if it wanted to.
Email items for inclusion in this page to jimbrigg@ optusnet.com