Eastwood welcomes new participants with targeted Jack Attack program

by Lachlan Williams

Some outside the box thinking from one eastern-suburbs Melbourne bowls club has opened the door for an array of new participants to get involved.

Eastwood Golf Bowls Club started a successful Jack Attack competition in early 2019, with eight teams competing in their first event.

“For a club that isn’t very big, we were pretty proud of ourselves,” Eastwood Jack Attack organiser John Kennelly said.

“The program created a new income stream and gave us a chance to bring in new people to enjoy bowls.”

Despite the success of the first competition, Mr Kennelly said there was a  key area for improvement identified.

“We completed a survey of our Jack Attack participants, and one thing that stood out was a gender imbalance – about 85 per cent of people playing were men,” he said.

“My wife (Tracy) and I saw that as an opportunity to potentially run a female-only Jack Attack program. We reached out to our RBM (Regional Bowls Manager) Paul (Holtschke) and he helped us with it.”

Mr Kennelly said the introduction of a women’s only Jack Attack competition was to reach out to a part of the community that had not previously been exposed to bowls before.

“A female-only program brought new bowlers out who mightn’t have felt as comfortable or enthusiastic as an open competition,” he said.

“We got six teams together and created a really successful competition.

“We introduced more non-bowlers to the sport, they embraced it, had fun and enjoyed themselves and a few of the teams will be competing in our next Jack Attack competition.”

Mr Kennelly said the club is excited to be running both open and women’s only Jack Attack programs in 2020.

“We hope to see more new faces at the club,” he said.

Contribution by Paul Hotlschke – Regional Bowls Manager (Metropolitan Melbourne/Geelong)

Find your local RBM: bowls.com.au/rbms