Kick up your heels with barefoot bowls

THE Brighton Bowls Club has organised a new bowling competition for local people and businesses that goes by the name of ‘barefoot bowls’.

Van Ransley, a board member from the club said the competition had been running in other clubs in southern Tasmania and the Brighton Bowls committee thought it would be a good idea to start it in Brighton. The committee was keen to introduce new people to the club, generate more revenue, become for relevant in the community and overcome the perception that bowling is for old people.Barefoot Bowls was the one way to achieving these aims. Van said the club has around 90 members, which is quite small in comparison to similar clubs in the south of Tasmania.

“But being small is also good because it is a close-knit club,” he said. “Barefoot bowls is a fun way for people, totally new to the game, to learn the skills and techniques involved in the sport. These may include learning how the bias will bend the bowl and how hard to bowl.”

Club members provide quick instruction to the amateur bowlers before they are free to perfect their method by simply learning as they play. Bowls are provided at the Centre and no special clothing is required, however players should be aware that if they are wearing high-heeled footwear or boots, they might be asked to bowl barefoot.

Van visited every business in and around Brighton to generate interest for a competition and placed numerous advertisements in Brighton Community News.

“I wore out quite a bit of shoe leather trying to drum up support around the community,” he said.

He said his visit to the Brighton Alive network meeting proved fruitful, with three teams coming from this group and an additional seven teams made up of individuals and businesses in the local municipality. Eventually, Barefoot Bowls had 10 teams comprising four people up and running.

The Club offered a free session on October 19 to teach budding players the basics of bowling and the night culminated in success with most players taking up the offer.

The competition officially launched on Wednesday October 26 with a barbecue held on the evening prior to the first bowl sent down the green at 6pm. This remains the format each Wednesday evening. The barbecue is kindly cooked by the duty pennant team, providing the players sustenance to get through the gruelling match.

Teams involved in the friendly competition are the Racegoers, from the racing industry; the Bad Daggers, from Bagdad; the Bandits; 414; and Team with a View – hailing from the real estate industry. Other groups include The Who; TasPorts; Knit Wits; Red Cross; and Pearlers – from the Community Knitting Group.

Van is currently looking for more teams to enter the post-Christmas competition, or even a few individual players who would be willing to be matched into a team.

The Centre can cater for up to 16 teams and it is anticipated that all current teams will continue on into the New Year with a fresh competition starting January 11 to run through to the end of daylight savings.

The cost to play is $25 per team, including the barbecue and refreshments. The pre-Christmas competition will conclude with the finals, to be held December 14.

If you are interested Van would like to hear from you. He can be contacted on 0417 314 749.

As the summer season approaching, Van is delighted that two bare foot bowlers have now joined the Club and are playing in the pennant roster. He is also pleased that 414 Real Estate have decided to generously sponsor the Brighton Bowls Club.

“With the weather warming up we may even see a few more bowlers playing in bare feet,” Van said.