Bowlers team up to keep go­ing

Central Leader - - CLASSIFIED - By LAUREN PRI­EST­LEY

Bowlers have high hopes a merger will bring new life to their clubs.

The Mt Al­bert and San­dring­ham bowl­ing clubs have joined forces to in­crease mem­ber­ship, cut costs and pro­vide stronger com­pe­ti­tions.

Mem­bers of both clubs voted to amal­ga­mate in Novem­ber and will con­tinue to op­er­ate separately un­til the end of May.

San­dring­ham mem­ber Frank Ryan says work­ing to­gether will strengthen both clubs.

The 82-year-old is the for­mer mayor of Mt Al­bert and has a long his­tory with the sub­urb. He has been a mem­ber of San­dring­ham Bowl­ing Club for about 40 years.

‘‘My fam­ily grew up here and I had some won­der­ful sup­port from the pub­lic. I love it here.

‘‘Change is al­ways hard but I’m de­lighted at how it’s been done. The amal­gama- tion will ben­e­fit play­ers from both clubs.’’

Mr Ryan was part of the team with San­dring­ham bowlers Ken Gibson and Ceri John who came from be­hind to win the Cham­pi­onship Triples at Mt Al­bert in Jan­uary. The team’s com­bined age was 202.

The life mem­ber and long­stand­ing pa­tron of the club helped put to­gether the new con­sti­tu­tion for the amal­ga­mated clubs.

Join­ing forces will mean even stronger com­pe­ti­tion, he says.

‘‘Bowls has been a life-long game for me. My big­gest hope is that more people will con­sider join­ing bowls. It’s be­com­ing a young man’s game – but us older guys have still got it too.’’

The amal­ga­mated club will even­tu­ally be based at San­dring­ham and the Mt Al­bert premises will be sold, San­dring­ham pres­i­dent Ceri John says.

The greens at San­dring­ham have been in poor con­di­tion for more than five years and mem­bers have been un­able to play on them for about 18 months. They were used last week for the first time since ren­o­va­tions be­gan.

It has been a hard time for the club to gain new mem­bers and stay fi­nan­cially sta­ble, Mr John says.

San­dring­ham trea­surer and sec­re­tary Pat Mcquoid says it was a tough de­ci­sion but a worth­while one for both clubs.

‘‘Ev­ery club is fac­ing the same chal­lenges - the whole lot. We just felt that by adding the two clubs to­gether we were sav­ing two clubs that could other­wise go down the drain.’’

Photo: LAUREN PRI­EST­LEY

Strong sup­port: San­dring­ham Bowl­ing Club pa­tron Frank Ryan says a merger with Mt Al­bert will strengthen both clubs.

Go to cen­tral­leader.co.nz and click lat­est edi­tion to see an in­tro­duc­tion to lawn bowls.

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