Bowling On – 2nd April.

One of the absolute joys of sport in watching competitors who ” box above their weight” and so it has been with the women from the Bulls Bowling Club during Champion of Champion events this season.

The club had competitors in three of the four senior finals and were good enough to win the fours and place runners-up in pairs and Triples. The Club has fewer than ten women players so their performances are all the more meritorious. Johnston Park is another Club with fewer than 20 women players but they have taken three Centre titles and a runner-up during the season.

There hasn’t been the same pattern in the men’s champion of champion events with the town clubs Terrace End, Palmerston North, Takaro and Northern winning a title each and those clubs have provided most of the runners-up as well.

I was personally delighted to see Bob Williams (Palmerston North) in the pairs and Terry Curtis (Takaro) in the fours achieve their gold stars. Both are among the “Good guys” in sport and have shown to advantage in other sports as well.

The centre’s season is now complete and all that remains of the season are some excellent open tournaments. Ashhurst has an any gender triples on 10 April and Terrace End an Aussie pairs on 21/22 April and both Clubs are still looking for entries. The following weekend sees the Takaro classic fours (men) and Terrace End’s women’s pairs played in tandem and both events are growing in popularity.

* Bowls New Zealand came to town last week with a Roadshow presented by Chief Executive Kerry Clark. The disappointing thing for me was the lack of attendance from bowlers. If you took out those from the Manawatu and club executives there were few others in attendance. Clark didn’t come with any silver bullets but the key messages were to give proper recognition to a new generation of pay to play bowlers and give them a status within the game.

It is not about doing things differently. It is about doing different things. If clubs take their current seasons programme and transpose the dates to next season the result will be the same – A sport declining for want of attraction. We need to be bold. What Club will be first with a tournament on a Sunday commencing at four o’clock and finishing at Seven open to all people?

Bowling Clubs in the main are not welcoming places with locked gates and “trespassers will be prosecuted” signs. How is that sort of thinking going to get anyone through the gate? It won’t of course.

* A club trying to do different things is Himatangi Beach and they are now targeting primary age children. To do that they need a supply of size nought and one bowls so any Club that can help contact president May Graham.

* A further success for Takaro in recent weeks with John Osborne winning the Kapiti first year bowler title. Osborne is a talented sportsman being a previous Manawatu table tennis singles champion and he seems assured of a good future in the game.

* Don’t forget Terrace End are running a fundraising tournament on Easter Monday to assist travel expenses for their women and Pamerston North’s men to the national club finals in Invercargill. Entries to Terrace End.

Tony Jensen

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