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Inner Western Courier Thursday Not Used Anymore : October 8 2008
MB INNER-WEST WEEKLY, Thursday, October 9, 2008 3 NEWS www.innerwestweekly.com.au Bowling struggles to keep its end up David Mastrobattista, of Mortlake, loves lawn bowls. Picture: Phil Blatch ~PP200260 FIONA BRADY and ZILKA GROGAN IN their heyday in the 1950s, there were waiting lists to join, but now some of the Inner West's bowling clubs are struggling to survive. The pokie tax, smoking ban and the area's changing demographics have all contributed to falling memberships at once-thriving clubs. Homebush Bowling Club closed its doors a few years ago, as did Five Dock RSL Bowling Club, which became a casualty of the pokie tax in 2005. Its Lyons Rd site is now earmarked for redevelop- ment and the owners are under- stood to be discussing options with Canada Bay Council. Other clubs have managed to diversify and bring in younger members. South Strathfield Bowling Club is one of the strugglers. Its membership has been falling ever since the smoking ban was introduced in July last year. The club's treasurer Stephen O'Keefe said it currently had around 250 members, including social members. ''At the moment, we're keeping our head above water but just,'' he said. ''With the smoking ban, pokie machine takings are down and we're not attracting as many mem- bers.'' Mr O'Keefe said the club had been taking steps to encourage more people to take up bowls. ''We've tried letterbox drops to let people know we're here and to promote barefoot bowls but we just don't seem to be in the right area. ''Barefoot bowls seems to work best in the inner city where you're close to universities.'' Greenlees Park Bowling Club general manager Glen Taylor said the club had not had a problem with membership because it also incorporated Briars Sporting Club. ''The club is hurting a bit with the no-smoking thing but other than that our membership is going OK,'' he said. Concord Bowling Club manager David Mitchell said their member- ship remained stable. ''To be honest I think it's be- cause we're so small that we're virtually just a family,'' he said. ''We only have 30 full members registered. ''Rather than have people drift in and out, (the club has) become their own little haven.'' For young and 'really old' DAVID Mastrobattista may be one of the youngest members at Roselands Bowling Club, but that hasn't stopped him enjoying the sport. The 17-year old Mortlake resi- dent joined the club three years ago after playing bowls at school. ''Most of the members are prob- ably around 30 or 40, some are under 20 and some really old,'' he said. ''I get along with everyone all right.'' The teenager bowls three after- noons a week, as well as most weekends, and competes in reg- ular tournaments two or three times a month. He'd encourage other young people to try the sport. ''It's just a really tactical and outdoors sport,'' he said. Average age of club members, 69 John Younie at Concord RSL Bowling Club. ''WE'RE dying off,'' jokes one sprightly lady bowler when asked about falling membership at Con- cord RSL Bowling Club. When the club opened 50 years ago, it had about 200 members. Now it has less than half that -- including some who can no longer play due to ill health. ''We're trying to get the young ones in to take our place, but it's difficult,'' said president Eric Tait. But later this month the strug- gling club will launch a recruit- ment drive focusing on the newer residential areas such as Break- fast Point, Liberty Grove and Rhodes. As well as leafleting 6000 homes and businesses, they are holding three free open days to teach people how to play the game. Club secretary John Younie is hoping it will bring some new blood into an organisation where the average age is 69. ''Lawn bowls is outdoors, it's very sociable and a little bit of exercise,'' he said. ''It can be played to a very old age, we have a member who's 90. ''It's not a dear sport to play once you've got your bit of uni- form, and you can get bowls second-hand very cheaply.'' Concord RSL Bowling Club, Nirranda St, Concord West, is holding three free open days on October 12, 19 and 26 from 1pm to 4pm. The club will supply bowls, tuition and refreshments. Dress is casual with soft, flat-soled shoes. To book your place phone John on 8765 8050 or Eric on 9743 0121. CASH TODAY $100 - $6,000 CASH TODAY phone 1300 55 8000 www.moneyplus.com.au 133 Burwood Rd, Burwood conditions apply no upfront fees no security or assets needed no fuss no hassle approval and cash within 1 hour 2163030p iww wk09 OPENING SALE Lift chairs, scooters, rollators, shower chairs Crutches, walking sticks, walking frames, wheelchairs, hospital beds, commodes, cushions, ramps Ability Healthcare 115 Silverwater Road Silverwater 9648 1888 www.abilityhealthcare.net Pride Lift Chair C6 Dual Motor $1580 Save $270 Pride Pathride 10 Scooter $2400 Save $250 6 Wheel Rollator $170 Sale Price $127 Shower stool $60 Sale Price $45 Sales, Hire, Personal Delivery (10km radius) 2304589i iww wk15
October 15 2008
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