A festive message to the Bowls community

A festive message to the Bowls community

With the festive period upon us, Bowls Australia (BA) would like to take the time to reflect on the year that was in 2017 and look ahead to what shapes as a monumental year for the sport in 2018. 

As 2017 draws to a close, there have been many highlights in the sport this year which include the following: 

-The increase in regular bowls participation by 5.9%, including a 10.3% increase in social bowls (barefoot, schools, Jack Attack, etc.)

-176 clubs registered for Jack Attack, the short, fast and fun format of bowls  

-Over 4,600 clubs, region/district associations, STA offices, schools, LGAs, partners and community groups were visited by Regional Bowls Managers, facilitating the sales of over 1,300 Jnr. Jack Attack kits to clubs and schools as part of the Australian Sports Commission’s Sporting Schools program across Australia
-More broadcast and streaming footage as partnerships continued with SBS (Bowls Show, season two) and with Fox Sports (Bowls Premier League’s and Australian Open), together with multiple events that have been streamed using ‘Rinkside Live’ via the BA Facebook page and in addition, ‘The Bowls Clubhouse’ was launched providing free access to a huge library of bowls footage.

 -New branding with a stylised corporate logo was implemented for BA and a five STAs

-Social media growth with a significant increase in the number of followers for BA’s Facebook and Twitter accounts and over 45,000 subscribers to our E-newsletter, Bowls Connect
-Partnerships continued with a solid portfolio of national sponsors, with new event partners in Club Sapphire (Australian Championships) and the Yorke Peninsula Alliance (Australian Senior Sides Championship)
-The continued success of BA national and international events with the Bowls Premier League expanding into New Zealand in early 2017 and the Illawarra Gorilla’s joining the competition.  The Australian Open continued to grow (7% from 2016) in the number of entrants and the BPL Cup was launched in 2017 with over 500 teams entering
-Continued success on the world stage by the Australian Jackaroos with multiple gold medals at the Multi Nations event and two Tran-Tasman series. 
-BA Awards and Hall of Fame (HoF) recognition – new HoF members inducted included legends Kelvin Kerkow OAM and Rex Johnston OAM, Wayne Turley, Arnold O’Brien, Mark Casey, Greeta Fahey and Leif Selby. 
-A new BA President with Darryl Clout assuming the leadership of BA from Nigel Smith at the October 2017 AGM. We thank Nigel for his excellent contribution to the sport and the BA Board

2018 is set to be headlined by Australia’s first home Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast since Melbourne 2006, which looms as the Jackaroos best chance at multiple medals since the highly successful Games in Melbourne. 

On behalf of the entire BA team, board and staff, we would like to wish the wider bowls community a safe and happy festive period. 

Please note, the BA office will be closed from Friday December 22 and will re-open on Tuesday January 4. 

December 22, 2017 / by / in
Wonthella leading the next-gen of bowlers in Geraldton

Drive four hours north of Perth in Western Australia and you’ll arrive at the picturesque coastal town of Geraldton. 

With two clubs based there, the town has a great history in the sport of bowls exhibiting strong membership and proactivity.

More recently, led by President Kevin Exten, the Wonthella Bowls Club launched a project to involve high schools in bowls programs at the club with great results. 

The initial program, which was seen as a pilot for the area, involved three schools in Strathalbyn Christian College, Nagle Catholic College and Geraldton Grammar School.

Exten engaged the surrounding clubs, Geraldton Bowling Club and Mullewa Bowling Club, as well as Bowls Australia’s Regional Bowls Manager for the area Clive Adams, to develop a program which would, in the club president’s words, “find the next state bowls champion”.

It was initially planned to have all the sessions at Wonthella, however with many sessions scheduled for similar times or to overlap, it was soon realised that one of the schools should head to the Geraldton Club instead for logistical purposes and to provide adequate green space.

The co-operation of both clubs in this instance was crucial to the success of the program.

“We are looking to engage with the local community to demonstrate what a great club we have, and what a great sport bowls can be for everyone”, said Exten.

“Bowls offers great opportunities to younger people, but also for family involvement. It’s a fun, challenging sport that anyone can play, but that also teaches discipline and respect for others along the way.” 

The program initially involved showing the students techniques to deliver the bowl, but quickly turned to scroungers (4,3,2,1 scoring) type formats and more recently into short pairs matches, involving the more traditional scoring methods.

The club was able to use its Jr. Jack Attack equipment to set up mini-activities like Bowls Footy and so forth.

“During any sessions, it is very important to keep the students engaged”, said Adams.

“The Club did a great job of this by varying games, and keeping the students challenged, either using different scoring formats, or playing target games that maintain focus.” 

As a thank you to the students for their involvement and to encourage them to return, Wonthella presented the students from Strathalbyn and Geraldton Grammar with complimentary memberships for the club while they remain a student.

“We have certainly seen plenty of potential amongst the groups we have coached for the last six or seven weeks,” said Exten.

“Now we want them to keep coming back, bring their friends and families, and keep enjoying the sport we all love.

“Our club members have been brilliant… Not only have they loaned us coloured bowls to use rather than tired old black ones, many of them have stepped out onto the green to assist with the sessions. It really has been fantastic, and I thank them all.” 

Adams praised the club for their membership initiative, which shapes as a crucial tool in a bid to lure the students back to the club and continuing with the sport. 

“The free membership offer is a fantastic initiative from the club”, he said. 

“Running school programs is a brilliant way to bring people into the sport, but encouraging ongoing club involvement is the next crucial step. Rather than waiting to see what happens from the program, the club is on the front foot showing that they want these great young people involved in the club.”

As they approach the end of 2017, the club certainly has great plans for the future, and they now know they can run a successful program, providing enjoyment and involvement for all.

For more information on school programs, or for anything else your club might like to get involved in, please contact your local BA Regional Bowls Manager. 

Contribution by Clive Adams – Regional Bowls Manager (WA – North/East)

December 22, 2017 / by / in
Good Sports Geeveston recognised for their tireless efforts

The Geeveston Bowls Club have been acknowledged as a state finalist by Good Sports in Tasmania for their efforts in seeking improvements in all corners of the club. 

An hour south of Hobart on the Apple Isle, Geeveston have adopted a number of positive initiatives in conjunction with Regional Bowls Manager Simon Morrison, including raising the club’s accreditation from Level 1 to 3, receiving $54,000 in funding to repair a leaking roof and upgrade on the kitchen and flooring. 

Liz, the secretary of the club, was praised by Morrison for her tireless efforts in continuing to search for improvement, which next will be umbrella shades for bowlers. 

A member since 1979, Liz is as invested in the club as anyone, proud of what Geeveston do and how they contribute to the community.

“We make sure everyone is ok and gets home safe. We are a place to meet, and it’s not snobby. People come back for the banter and the camaraderie,” she said. 

The club has changed over the years, with many more women playing than they did before, many of them bringing their kids or the grandkids along.

A family-friendly approach has been adopted, with the club adhering to the Good Sports Alcohol Management Policy.

Geeveston Bowls Club is an important part of the community, recognise by Good Sports because of their continued dedication and commitment to providing a safe, well-managed and family-friendly club for the local community.

If you would like to know more about how Good Sports can assist your club, please visit www.goodsports.com.au

December 21, 2017 / by / in
Aron Sherriff ready for rollercoaster Commonwealth Games ride

With just over 100 days to go until the Commonwealth Games arrive on the Gold Coast, four-time international bowler of the year Aron Sherriff is excited about the “hectic” road ahead. 

Sherriff, 32, is in the process of re-locating to the Gold Coast with his family after signing with Club Helensvale earlier this month.

With the move along with his debut for Helensvale in early January and multiple Australian camps in preparation for the Games between now and April, it looms as a testing but potentially rewarding period for Sherriff. 

“It’s going to be a full on process but it’s something I’m looking forward to, as would the 16 other athletes and coaching staff,” he said. 

“We go through such a tough selection process with such a strong squad.

“Anytime you get selected to play for Australia it’s an exciting moment.”

The equal-fourth most capped Australian male also spoke about the difficulties in the selection process, something he says is not as straight forward as some may think. 

“All the selection process for major events are a two-year process. It’s not like we get together once, have a trial and get selected,” he said. 

“We have three or four camps plus other tournaments where we play together as teammates.

“The trials we compete against each other which is tough when you’re competing against your mate who you’re vying with for similar positions.”


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A bronze medalist in Glasgow, Sherriff is will compete in his third Games on the Gold Coast and says the disappointment of Delhi coupled with progress in Scotland last time round has made him that “little bit hungrier to fight for gold.” 

“Hopefully that first gold medal is in front of my family, friends and home Australian crowd,” he said. 

December 21, 2017 / by / in
Quick greens will give Australia Commonwealth Games edge, says Karen Murphy

Veteran Australian bowler Karen Murphy says the Broadbeach greens should give the Jackaroos the upper hand during next year’s Commonwealth Games. 

Set to partake in her fifth Commonwealth Games, the 42-year-old feels as though Gold Coast will benefit Australia more so than any other Games she’s competed in. 

“Certainly the crowd aspect and the whole hype around the Aussie team is worth a lot,” she said. 

“The greens aren’t super, super quick. The last four that I’ve played on (Kuala Lumpur, Manchester, Melbourne, Glasgow) the greens have been below par… Tradition says bowls hasn’t been played on great surfaces over the past four or five Commonwealth Games.

“Broadbeach is very, very good… Obviously the quicker it is for us the better. The weather in the lead up is very, very important in that we don’t get any rain. I think that would be a massive advantage for us.”

As one of the elder stateswomen of the squad, Murphy echoed much of the sentiment from her fellow squad members in regards to the culture, signalling out national coach Steve Glasson as the key driving force behind it. 

“Our culture led by Steve [Glasson] probably sets us apart a little bit,” she said. 

“We’re really tight. We back each other and we are really like a family.”

“For me that’s the enjoyment factor in it. Everyone supports each other and we’re one team. That’s obviously worth a lot.

“We win together, we lose together.”

Murphy will be looking to add to her impressive Games medal tally of three silver and one gold when she takes to the greens on Broadbeach from April 5 next year. 

December 20, 2017 / by / in