Sport for all ethos is at heart of club
Lang Toon dental firm’s support has players smiling
Budding bowls players were all smiles after receiving backing from a local dental firm.
Infinity Blu Dental Care & Implant Clinic recently presented new shirts and waterproofs to the junior section of Auchterarder Bowling Club.
Ron Anderson, president of the Lang Toon sporting institution, said all those connected to the Castle Wynd club were “eternally grateful” for the firm’s support.
Explaining a recent increase in the number of young people taking up the sport, he said: “Auchterarder used to have a strong junior section, which maybe whittled away over the years.
“But over the last two years we’ve tried to increase that back up.
“We’ve got 10 juniors at the moment. I moved from Blackford Bowling Club to Auchterarder two years ago and one of the juniors followed me at the time so we’ve had nine join the ranks since then.
“We’ve managed to retain them so we must be doing something right and we’re finding now that they’re bringing their mates along.
“The coaching for juniors across the board has improved dramatically. Now we do lots of games – golf, basketball, battleships and things like that – and I think that has had an impact in terms of keeping them involved.
“And we then get them on to the more serious stuff once they understand the rudiments of it.
“It’s a better way of coaching. Obviously we’re all inclusive and everyone is welcome but we push ‘eight to 80 ... and beyond’ in terms of our membership.
“Years ago bowls used to be looked at as an old man’s game but that’s not the case now.
“I think people are starting to realise that the sport is a sport for all and that’s the message we’re stating to get through.”
Chris Barrowman, owner of Infinityblu Dental Care & Implant Clinic – which has practices in several other Perthshire towns, as well as further afield – said: “We are proud of being an active member of the community by supporting local clubs that have a positive impact.
“Assisting the youth community through sports is one of our social responsibility goals and we are proud to be sponsoring Auchterarder Bowling Club and hope that our sponsorship can make a positive impact.
“With the relocation of our
dental practice in the town to a larger, three-surgery, dental practice, the Auchterarder and surrounding community has been so supportive, and we really want to put back into the community as much as we can, now and going forward.”
Looking at the club as a whole, Ron went on to explain that plans are in place to “future-proof” the club over the course of this year and beyond, including an ongoing drive to improve access and facilities for players with disabilities.
He told the He r a l d : “Auchterarder has a captive audience with all the new houses in the area and we’re trying to tap into that.
“Last June we did what we call our Try Bowls day and we leafleted 800 houses – most of them new houses – and out of that we increased our membership by 50 per cent.
“We’re doing another one in April this year and we’re planning to do exactly the same again to try to get the membership over 100. We’re sitting at around 70 just now.
“Last year I was absolutely gobsmacked. I thought we’d be lucky to get half a dozen people along to the Try Bowls day but around 40 people appeared and out of that we got 30- odd members.
“Pre-Covid, I would never have expected that so I would say the pandemic has had a positive impact on the club in a sense.
“We have coaching every Tuesday night and most of the folk we recruited at the Try Bowls stayed for the whole season, which was great.”
New floodlights have also been installed by Dundee firm DC Lighting following part-funding being secured through Perth and Kinross Council’s Community Investment Fund, with the aim of prolonging the season well into October.
In addition, an agreement has also been reached with local firm 3G Catering to franchise out the club’s catering facilities, a deal which is thought to be the first of its kind in Perthshire and is due to begin this week.
Ron added: “Obviously golf
clubs have done this for years and years but traditionally, with bowling clubs, it was the case that it was the women who had to do the cooking in the kitchen.
“I felt, as president, that wasn’t the way I wanted the club to go because when you’re bringing people to a club you want them to be playing – you don’t want them to be tied to being in the kitchen.
“The deal with 3G is a trial of sorts but we’ll see how it goes. I think it’ll take off.
“The women in the club that I’ve spoken to are absolutely delighted because it takes any pressure on them away.
“It’s a massive step forward.”