Bowls rolling with the times

Kapi-Mana News - - SPORT - By KRIS DANDO

Ed­die Davis shakes his head when asked if he thought he’d ever see peo­ple bowl­ing in bare feet.

The long-stand­ing mem­ber of Ti­tahi Bay Bowl­ing Club and cur­rent vice-pres­i­dent en­joys days on the green with his club­mates. Wear­ing whites and club colours, he has played reg­u­larly since 1977. Things are chang­ing, how­ever. Tra­di­tional bowlers have aged and for­mal com­pe­ti­tions have lost pop­u­lar­ity.

Davis said ev­ery club was do­ing its best to move into the mod­ern era.

‘‘We’re fol­low­ing the trends and try­ing to get play­ers on the green. If that means peo­ple in jan­dals or bare feet, play­ing short games, then so be it,’’ he said.

‘‘The days of three hours and 18 ends are not what younger peo­ple want – their spare time is pre­cious.’’

Ti­tahi Bay club pres­i­dent Bill McRoberts said three gala days were held each year, the first in Fe­bru­ary. Pro­ceeds went to or­gan­i­sa­tions like Wellington Free Am­bu­lance and the Can­cer So­ci­ety, which re­flected the club’s com­mu­nity ori­en­ta­tion, he said.

McRoberts said an over­haul of the main bowl­ing green and ex­ten­sive re­fur­bish­ments to the clu­b­rooms were about pre­sent­ing an at­trac­tive place for func­tions, cor­po­rate events and school bowls days.

‘‘It’s about be­ing more than a sports club,’’ he said. ‘‘ We’re chang­ing the type of bowls on of­fer and want this to be a place where peo­ple and fam­i­lies can come and en­joy them­selves.

‘‘ We have to move with the times or we’ll go un­der.’’

Rachel Wy­bourne-Curtin from Plim­mer­ton Bowl­ing Club said her club was en­joy­ing ex­cel­lent growth.

‘‘Our twi­light bowls com­pe­ti­tion has been very suc­cess­ful and we’re find­ing peo­ple in the 40 to 50 age bracket are com­ing along more,’’ she said.

‘‘Our link with Aotea Col­lege is great too, but you have to make sure you’re still cater­ing for the older mem­ber­ship. It’s im­por­tant to re­spect the tra­di­tions in the game.’’

The Ti­tahi Bay club kicks off busi­nesshouse bowls on Fe­bru­ary 10. It’s fun, so­cial and af­ford­able, with sports shoes or bare feet ac­cept­able.

Pre- com­pe­ti­tion train­ing, coach­ing and equip­ment are avail­able. En­try is $ 50 per team. Teams com­prise three play­ers with up to two re­serves. The com­pe­ti­tion runs for eight weeks.

En­tries close Fe­bru­ary 3. Email bay­bowler@ xtra. co. nz, phone 236 8452 or 0210 812 6264.

Photo: KRIS DANDO

New era: Ti­tahi Bay Bowl­ing Club pres­i­dent Bill McRoberts is old school, but knows what must be done for his club to sur­vive.

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