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