Proof that bowls Open Days do work…. “We need new Members” was the common agreement among the current Members of the Barrington United Bowling Club and a HAVE A GO DAY was suggested. They decided to open their club to give the wider community an opportunity to have a bit of fun and learn what bowls is about. They knew open days did not draw in big crowds as they have done in the past so decided that if they were going to hold one they needed to make a good fist of it. A committee was formed and with encouragement and support from Bowls Canterbury a date was decided upon.
Upon receiving a small grant, a poster was prepared and printed with 5000 copies delivered by club volunteers to homes in the proximity of the bowling club. The local media were approached and generously printed a news brief in their local papers. On the day all visitors were welcomed at the gate and were encouraged to ‘Have a go…”
Emily Robbins (Youth & Development Co-ordinator for Bowls Canterbury) attended bringing with her various bowling aides for any children who were attending with their parents. There were plenty of helpful members assigned to rinks to give advice and there was a sausage sizzle running all afternoon.
Barrington United were well rewarded for their efforts – over 40 non-bowlers turned up and were shown how to deliver a bowl and given some basic rules. This ensured that everyone had a quality experience with some level of success as well. Whilst most adults were playing quite seriously Emily Robbins introduced the younger members of the families to the game using smaller soft bowls and target mats.
One of the locals who read the flyer – Mike Martin thought an open day at the Barrington United Bowling Club was an ideal opportunity to take his children out for the afternoon to experience another sport and to see if he still enjoyed the sport he had played several years ago.
Mike’s obvious talent was noticed. In conversation it was revealed that he had played in Australia for a short time several years ago and was a member at the Forbes Men’s Bowling Club in New South Wales. He had resigned and sold his bowls and bowls gear when he came back to New Zealand. Mike has now joined the club as a full member and is playing in both Club and Interclub competitions.
So, was the Open Day a success? The Barrington United Club say YES! They certainly intend to keep in touch with the locals and follow up with another similar event in the future. Did it cost a lot? No. A grant was raised for the cost of the posters. The Bowls Canterbury Office provided help in designing the poster and volunteers from the Club completed the deliveries. A truly fun experience was had by all on a magnificent Canterbury day.
Auckland Bowls is providing support to Auckland Bowls clubs wanting to participate in “Have A Go Month” (October 2018) for further information contact Paul Tuckley: