Back from the brink – how Thornton Bowls Club turned their fortunes around
THORNTON Bowling Club faced financial ruin and closure two years ago, but today it’s a thriving entity.
There is a fully stocked bar, money in the bank and membership, while still not adequate, is on the rise. So how did this club with two outstanding greens rebound from the brink of collapse?
It took the dedication of a new club president, a karate expert and the influx of a few quality members, who banded together and came up with an action plan.
Wilhelm Malan and Tony Bracale need special mention for their unwavering commitment and vision to turn things around at a time when the club had just a few loyal remaining members left.
Malan, the vice president of WP Bowls, joined forces with resident member Bracale and together they supplied the initial cash needed to start the revival.
Monies were used to stock up the bar, improve club security and purchase mowers for greens that had been neglected.
Established in 1961, Thornton’s current membership stands at 30 men and four women. League results have been outstanding with the men’s first team on the brink of winning promotion to the Premier League, the second side topping the Second Four and the women back campaigning in Muter – and leading their section.
Winning promotion to the Premier League would be a huge boost for the club, Malan says.
“If we win promotion, we can attract a number of quality players. That’s not to say we haven’t any at the moment, we do. We’ve got some of the most promising youngsters in our ranks and a number of seasoned provincial campaigners.”
Teamwork is a non-negotiable in a successful club and it’s this kind of environment that has seen Thornton shine. It transcends through the kind of member the club is trying to attract – players who don’t bring baggage along with them, just good old-fashioned members wanting a family-orientated setting, a place to enjoy the game they love.
And if plans come together, an indoor bowling centre in the next five years is one the cards. The club has the land behind the clubhouse for this to happen, it’s just a matter of sourcing the role players.
Malan is bullish at the prospect of this becoming a reality.
“It would be the first of its kind,” he said. “Bowlers have been crying for this for years, it’s just a case of drawing up a business plan and presenting it to the relevant parties.”
So, if you’re a member of a (big) club where you’re no more than a number, give Thornton a call.