I Glover, Wednesday, 18 November 2015

IF "a makeover" is currently the operative word then the Forestville club's new bowl's shirts could well be a step in the right direction, particularly if it transcends in attracting new faces to the bowling green.

Other than the all important sponsor, McGrath Forestville, the shirt is devoid of any pretences such as the popular trend towards animals and birds, and purely and simply recognises it's landmark . . . in recognition of the friendly and welcoming atmosphere that has always prevailed throughout the area.

While this particular exercise may not be the complete answer to the dramatic decrease in bowling numbers, it's very much a matter of reviving that great Australian motto of "having a go".   

Smaller clubs have to work that much harder to attract members and then of course hold them, particularly as the Peninsula's larger clubs get the lion's share of any publicity. This mainly centres around their star players, who due to their bowling prowess justifiably deserve the credit, which hopefully will generate new participants to the sport.

So how do the smaller clubs retain their members, many of whom have racked up many year's of staunch membership?

"I believe our club with it's 60 plus active members is much more personal and bowlers place a lot of more importance on each other's companionship and welfare, rather than what otherwise may be afforded to the club champions," said the club's president, John Anstiss, who is one of the dedicated people behind the current membership drive.

"It's a case of achieving a balance between playing competitive bowls and enjoying other aspects of being a member, such as our mixed Friday twilight bowlswhich are played from 4.45-7 p.m. during the daylight saving months, followed by a sausage sizzle. 

"There's also the unique "Flying Bowlers" which commenced in 1977 and being the first of it's kind actually hired a plane and visited bowling clubs on long weekends throughout the entire State. 

"Unfortunately with the decrease in bowling numbers and conversely the increase in the overall costs involved, we have as they say "had to cut our cloth accordingly", so it's now a little slower by coach. Nevertheless we visit clubs such as Gosford, Kingswood or a Xmas in July and an undisclosed venue and of course the 4-day annual bus trip away on the October long weekend.

From a competitive aspect, the club won the grade 6 zone pennant flag in 1999, and were unlucky to be beaten in the final of the State play offs. This was followed by a 4-way play off in 2014 again in grade 6, only to lose narrowly to both the finalists, Asquith and Harbord.

Possibly lesser known is that the club celebrated it's 50th anniversary in 2011, followed one year later by the ladies, whose current active membership is similar to the men's, plus an additional 10 social members.

Competition wise, the ladies are right are there having won an overall six District flags, the big one being grade four in 2012 when they went onto the State play-offs, then repeated the following year, although they didn't quite make the State.

Due to their success in the fours, they were elevated to grade 3 in 2014, and subsequently won that District flag.  


                                                             (CLICK PHOTO TO ENLARGE)