In this month’s edition of Inside Bowls, Kerry Clark, the national body’s chief executive, cites figures that would be the envy of many sports. Over the past 12 months playing numbers have increased 14 per cent (105,000 people playing in a regular league), Mates in Bowls participants are up 28.5 per cent and the decline in overall club memberships has been held to 1.5 per cent. The number aged 5 to 19 playing regularly sits at about 9000 and a further 8500 young people take part via Kiwisport. Clark said in his 17 years in the role, 1340 bowling clubs around New Zealand had been reduced to about 560 clubs, mostly because of amalgamation. Traditional membership was declining, and the ‘‘pay as you play’’ model and making clubrooms more inviting were keys to moving the sport forward, he said.