Manawatu Lawn Bowls News – 20th March

Thanks to Tony, for the latest news from around the clubs in Manawatu.

“As we march inexorably towards the end of the bowling season It is probably timely to undertake some introspection and properly look at the state of the game in the Manawatu.

It is well to remember I make these comments as a Columnist and not as the President of the Manawatu Bowling Centre. I was a columnist before I joined the Centre executive and while there are naturally overlaps my personal perspectives may not be the views of my fellow executive members. Hopefully I can provoke discussion and feedback on the following views:-

1. Not all clubs are in a healthy state. We are seeing a lack of volunteers and an aging group of mid-weekers means there are fewer capable of undertaking the heavy work when greens are renovated.

2. Club member numbers are back which is an undeniable fact and revenue falls accordingly.

3. Centre Events and National and regional commitments are taking up far too many days. Why do we run open centre events and champion of champions? Champion of of champions sorts out true club champions as teams first need to see off all their home competition then the best of the rest in the centre. Why not make those teams the ones that go forward to National Club championships instead of starting from scratch again? Centre events no longer appeal to rank and file bowlers.

4. The make up of the Centre executive is archaic in its structure and those eligible for election. Currently only club delegates can be elected to the centre which clearly can deny other bowlers an opportunity they may be very suited to and relish. The make up still sticks rigidly to numbers split equally by gender even though there are nearly three times the number of males as females playing the game. Availability and capability should be the criteria not by Club or gender.

5. We have too many greens in the centre. My view is Clubs are better off reviewing the number of greens they use rather than looking to amalgamate as a solution. One first class green is more an asset than three average or poorer greens.

6. Unstructured bowls such as “mates in bowls” and business house remain popular but do not result in members coming into the traditional game. Why not? Time is the enemy and the traditional game takes too long.

7. The game doesn’t look attractive. Little colour and no carnival atmosphere.

8. Bowlers feel alienated from Bowls NZ and perceive they are not interested in club bowlers other than for the capitation fees they provide.

I hate negativity but unless we front some of these issues the game will continue to decline. I don’t expect I’ll get much feedback but a few volunteers on the Centre who are stretched enough anyway running day to day affairs can’t provide the catalyst for change that we need, Clubs need to collectively work together if we are to change for the better.

* I was privileged to play in the Mens Masters tournament this week played between Manawatu, Hutt Valley, Kapiti, Wairarapa, Wanganui and Wellinton. Manawatu finished third and after five rounds the points range was 22 to 20 making it the closest tournament I have ever seen. And yes the rumours are correct my four (the rest of whom seek anonymity) did lose 25-0 to Wellington. A reminder for all of us that this game always has a humility lesson close at hand!

* Last week our women’s Masters finished one better in their tournament with Bev Budd not dropping a game. She remains an extraordinary competitor.

* It is the time of year when tournaments take precedence with champion of champion events all but over. Several Clubs have asked me to promote their upcoming tournaments and there have been just too many to list. I would ask bowlers to look at your centre books to see what’s ahead and give some support to your fellow clubs.

* Our Centre will be represented by two fours (Terrace End’s Fran Frith and Palmerston North’s Brian Little) when the national Club finals are held in Invercargill next month. Both teams are up for travel costs of over $2000 and both are busy fundraising. Please support their major fundraiser which is a triples tournament at Terrace End on Easter Monday.

* Speaking of Terrace End they hosted a very good finals day for champion of champion events last Sunday. I thought their number three green played beautifully. Good to see their greenkeeper Terry Rossiter rewarded for his good form this season with a fours win in the Takaro team.

* National Interclub and Intercentre finals are being played at Howick this weekend and good luck to Northern women and both our representative teams.”

Tony Jensen