Junior bowls kits find deserving homes

by Lachlan Williams

Deserving clubs and organisations across the country have benefitted in recent months from the re-branding of Bowls Australia’s junior bowls product Jr. Jack Attack into Rookie Rollers.

With new kits introduced with the re-branding, an opportunity was presented to donate old Jr. Jack Attack kits to clubs.

While the new Rookie Rollers equipment remains essentially the same – soft rubber bowls which can be used on any flat surface – the change has been brought about by the expanding audiences using the product, such as those that are elderly or have an impairment, who may have difficulties holding regular heavy bowls or playing across a full-sized green

BA’s Regional Bowls Managers (RBMs) have been busy travelling their areas to find clubs to donate their kits to.

North East Victoria RBM John Emerson donated kits to a club as well as a worthy organisation.

Violet Town Bowls Club had recently gone through a major revamp of membership, with only eight financial members and no pennant bowls at the start of the 2020/21 season.

Remaining members chose to try and initiate some interest within the town to get the club up and going again, now with 74 social members and a push for pennant next season.

“Speaking with club secretary Margaret Crawford, the club was ecstatic to be gifted the kit. The kit will be put to great use,” Emerson said.

Emerson also gifted another kit to the Bowls Gr8 For Brains group at an open day at Wangaratta.

Bowls Gr8 For Brains is a not-for-profit community organisation operating mental heath support groups at bowls clubs where the focus in on lawn bowls, finding support through peers and having fun.

The kit will be put to use at future open days. Bowls Gr8 For Brains director Darryl Coventry said the kit will be a great help with entertaining younger attendees at the sessions.

Western Victoria RBM Stephen Arthur opted to give his kit to the Gunbower Bowls Club in the Murray-Mallee region.

With 30 members and in a small town, the club runs very successful tournaments and are more than competitive in pennant and are active in trying to recruit new members.

“It was an easy choice to give the kit to the Gunbower Bowls Club, they are very worthy recipients,” Arthur said.

Further north, South East Queensland RBM Micheal Sorrensen nominated Mount Tamborine Memorial Bowls Club to receive his kit.

Sorrensen said after appointing a new club manager in Tessa Edwards and a new greenkeeper, the club has thrived with improvements.

“The greens were unplayable when I was last there and the clubhouse look like a backpacker’s hostel. Now the club has two championship standard greens and the clubhouse very bright and inviting,” he said.

“The membership has grown now that the bowlers can get onto the greens to play, this has also allowed growth in the areas of bare foot bowls and social membership. 

“Now that they have the Jr. Jack Attack kit, Tessa is confident and excited bring more families to the club.”

Out west, Northern WA RBM Clive Adams met with Innaloo Sportsmen’s Club to present them with his kit.

Over the past four to five years, the club has done it tough, especially through COVID times. However recently the club is doing well and is now looking to the future in terms of business planning, and growing its status once again in the bowling fraternity and in the community.

“The club is keen to provide more for families and the community, and the addition of the Jr Jack Attack kit will enhance this offering,” Adams said.

“Whether it be catering for family groups when they come to the club, or the planned promotion of junior bowls in the community, either way, the Jr Jack Attack kit is a wonderful addition to the resources of the club.”

South-East NSW & ACT RBM Nick Hind took his donation in a different direction, donating his kit to the University of Canberra.

UC has been a major supporter of bowls in the capital region in recent years, providing teachers the skills to deliver programs for primary schools and high schools.

Nick has worked with the university over the last three years demonstrating to more than 100 pre-service primary school and PE teachers how great bowls can be in a school environment and how easy the Bowls Australia product is to deliver into schools.

While Nick will still be hosting sessions at UC, the donation of the kit enables the student teachers and University staff access to bowls year round, giving those who find a passion for the sport extra opportunities to familiarise themselves and gain greater skill levels, all of which can be passed on to the newest generation of bowlers as these teachers begin their work in schools across the country. 

Other deserving recipients included Buckley Park Bowling Club (Victoria), Dundas Sports Club (NSW), Toronto Workers Club (NSW), Invermay Bowling Club (Tasmania), Yandina Bowls Club (Queensland) and Normanton Bowls Club (Queensland).

To learn more about Rookie Rollers, or to purchase a kit for your club, head to bowls.com.au/rookie-rollers

Image: The Jr. Jack Attack kit proves popular at a Bowls Gr8 For Brains event, while Stephen Arthur made his way to Gunbower to donate his kit.