Ferntree Gully Bowling Club finds success embracing Jack Attack program

by Lachlan Williams

In an effort to grow and bring new members into the sport, one east-Melbourne bowls club has embraced Bowls Australia’s Jack Attack program with great success.

Four years ago, Ferntree Gully Bowling Club was in a position similar to that of many other clubs across the country, working out ways to introduce new people to the bowls and their club.

“We were sitting there scratching our heads getting nowhere. We thought there had to be something we could do to bring people in, that’s when we heard of Jack Attack,” Ferntree Gully Bowling Club venue manager Doug McArthur said.

The club had an immediate boost in participation after initially introducing the program, running a 10-team first season with about 40 players competing.

Hosting two Jack Attack seasons a year, the club is nearing the start of another season in October.

“We now have a very strong competition, full of local people who are loyal to the club and absolutely love it,” McArthur said.

“There is a real mix of ages too, we have a couple of older people in their 50s and 60s, some in their 30s and 40s and we have even had teenagers come and play.

“For people who might have an interest in bowls but don’t want to play pennant, I sell them Jack Attack straight away. We have developed a very close knit group within the club and there is no reason it can’t continue for years to come.”

Why not get a group together and have a go at Jack Attack! Registrations being taken now. 9753 5888

Posted by Ferntree Gully Bowling Club on Sunday, 15 September 2019

Jack Attack is a nation-wide program aimed at combatting drops in traditional membership by targeting people who might enjoy bowls but not want to make the commitment to a pennant competition.

The format of the game replicates that of the Bowls Premier League, with a fast-paced and more relaxed feel.

Ferntree Gully’s success with their club-based Jack Attack program has prompted them to grow the competition within their region, with scope to get even bigger.

“We compete in interclub matches against Dandenong and Vermont South which everyone really enjoys,” McArthur said.

“We are also in discussions with several other clubs who sound keen too. From what was a program focused on bringing more people to our club, we are close to creating a pretty sizeable competition within our region.

“It is an exciting prospect about where we can take the Jack Attack program near us moving forward.”

Eastern Melbourne and Victoria Regional Bowls Manager James Whitehead said Ferntree Gully is a great example of the opportunities Jack Attack can provide to clubs.

“We are big on creating opportunities for people to play outside of traditional pennant and having people represent clubs in different ways,” he said.

Ferntree Gully will host an interclub Jack Attack challenge on October 9, before another six-week Jack Attack season commences on October 30.

Individuals interested in getting involved with Jack Attack can find their nearest participating club at bowls.com.au/get-involved/jack-attack.

Clubs can follow the example of Ferntree Gully and register online to become involved with Jack Attack.