BA visit a hit

By Jamie Lowe

A visit from Bowls Australia CEO Neil Dalrymple had the desired effect according to Deniliquin RSL Bowling Club president Ken Wellard.

The club hosted Dalrymple, representatives of BA, Australian coach Steve Glasson, former Commonwealth Games gold medallist Karen Murphy and district club presidents on Monday.

The meeting was coordinated with the aim of giving clubs a chance to seek advice during he Coronavirus pandemic and how to get more players joining local bowling clubs.

‘‘They were really good to speak with,’’ Wellard said.

‘‘They admitted that they would not have visited if it wasn’t for my rant on Facebook, but we all had a bit of a laugh about that.

‘‘The meeting went for about an hour and during that time they showed plenty of interest in the Gr8 For Brains program and answered most of our questions.

‘‘They spoke on different programs we could run to get new bowlers at the club.

‘‘Unfortunately we will have to wait for these programs due to the border closure between New South Wales and Victoria, as the person who runs them will need to travel from Victoria.

‘‘Most of the programs are targeted at bringing in bowlers in that 40 to 50 year-old age bracket.’’

Another query that Wellard had heading into the meeting was the availability of grants for clubs in the Southern Riverina.

With many clubs in New South Wales bowling under the Bowls Victoria banner, Wellard said he has historically been unable to access grants from either Bowls NSW or Bowls Victoria.

‘‘Bowls Australia cleared that issue up with information on a representative in Albury that deals with clubs that are close to the border,’’ Wellard said.

‘‘Now we should finally be able to receive grants to help us improve the club.’’

While the visit was beneficial for the local bowling clubs, Dalrymple and the representatives were equally excited to check in and allow members to hear from Glasson and Murphy.

‘‘Post COVID-19 we’re trying to get out and visit some of the clubs, talk to them about bowls, Bowls Australia and what BCIB Insurance Brokers does,’’ Dalrymple said.

‘‘It gives clubs the opportunity to meet and pick the brains of Glasson and Murphy who are icons of the sport; these visits don’t happen every day.

‘‘It’s like having an Australian captain coming to visit a cricket club.’’

Dalrymple said exploring the nation-wide short form of the game, Jack Attack, is something that should be utilised for attracting young players.

‘‘We came to get to know the clubs and provide them with some guidelines and ideas on how they can make their bowls club better and try and get more people playing, getting them on the greens and help to keep them running in general with the volunteers they have,’’ Dalrymple said.

‘‘This may involve trying to run bowls at different times, whether it be after work hours or weekends. It’s about trying to become more inclusive of the community and create opportunities for people to feel welcome.

‘‘Jack Attack is a national program which is a shorter version of the game so it can be played within an hour or so.

‘‘It’s like the T20 of bowls. It would be nice to see that out here.’’