Bendigo Bowls Division set for structural change

By Brayden May

HEATHCOTE Bowls Club will come under a new governance structure in 2021 following a recent announcement from Bowls Victoria.

From next year, the Bendigo Bowls Division will form a new region structure alongside the Campaspe Valley Bowls Division and potentially the Goldfields divisions.

In the past, the three competitions have been run separately although the change would mean around 40 clubs would fall under one level of governance, in a yet-to-be-named region.

Under the changes, each competition — as they are in their current form — could run their own pennant competitions.

The structure could allow for a premier competition between the best clubs from the three regions.

In their presentation to clubs, Bowls Victoria outlined three key reasons for the change:

1. Governance — to achieve uniformity.

2. Volunteers — reduction in the number required.

3. Playing areas — maximizing bowlers’ leisure time.

Bowls Victoria has 16 regions in its current structure, and this system will remain in place.

But as part of the changes, existing boards, committees and governance structures will be removed.

“The key thing with this change is we will no longer need the amount of volunteers running each division, we will be able to do it from a regional level,” Bowls Victoria chief executive Tony Sherwill told media.

“As for who plays who regarding pennant, there doesn't need to be any change.”

Bowls Victoria had began encouraging clubs to help have the changes in place by July 1 this year, but the coronavirus pandemic has seen their plans delayed by 12 months.

“When we started this process there was a chance in some areas (to implement the changes this year), but the coronavirus has thrown our plans into a bit of chaos,” Sherwill said.

“The deadline was always July 1, 2021, but we were encouraging some regions to do it earlier if they were going to be in a position, which we thought Bendigo would have been. But we expect now that Bendigo will be 2021, rather than 2020, and that's no drama.”