School’s bowls program rolls out across the Eastern Shore

A SCHOOL’S lawn bowls program being rolled out across the Eastern Shore has seen more than 250 students try their hand at the lesser-known sport. Spearheaded by the Beltana Bowls Club, the program is offered to both primary and secondary schools as a way to diversify the sports curriculum.

“We’re trying to get through to schools that lawn bowls is a good alternative for students who may not be interested in the more mainstream sports such as Australian Rules Football, cricket or basketball,” Beltana Bowls Club president Peter Hyland said.

“Lawn bowls is a character-building sport as it requires coordination, discipline and teamwork – it is a great social and community sport, and it is also a lot of fun.

“Coordination-wise, these young people are absolutely brilliant and this program gets them outside and into the sunshine.

“We don’t want lawn bowls to be a game that dies out because of the age – it needs to be something that we can develop and bring the youth through.

“There’s plenty of opportunity for young people in this sport and it is our role to provide an avenue for them, whether that be to play socially or to compete at higher levels in Tasmania, Australia and even at the Commonwealth Games.”

Trialled over two-weeks, the program saw students from MacKillop Catholic College, Rose Bay High School and Risdon Vale Primary School participate in one-hour coaching sessions at the Beltana Bowls Club.

MacKillop Catholic College health and physical education teacher Kelly Dixon said the program was a good way to introduce students to different recreational sports.

“We have such a range of students that are interested in so many different things and I think we need to give them access to a wide variety of sports, as there is always something for everyone,” she said.

“A lot of students don’t enjoy the more common sports and bowls could be the something that they really love.”

Ms Dixon said once the students began to understand the skill and strategy needed to play lawn bowls they “really started to enjoy it.”

“And having the support from the community and the club members was fantastic,” she said.

“It’s great for them to get a taste of a new world that they don’t typically see.”

Mr Hyland said the program was based on one run in Launceston last year, which saw four young players take up the sport and progress to the Premier League.

“It is very hard for teachers to offer variety in the sports curriculum and that is exactly what this program offers,” he said.

“Lawn bowls is becoming a young sport – you need only watch the Premier League on television to see that, with most of the players aged under 30-years.

“Lawn bowls is no longer an old man’s game and there is such potential on the Eastern Shore.”

Mr Hyland said the club was keen to hear from any schools wishing to participate in the program.

“We’re currently prepared to offer the program until Christmas and are interested in starting up again in the New Year,” he said.

“We’d love to hear from any interested schools, as this is a great opportunity for students to try something different.”

For more information about the Beltana Bowls Club, visit www.beltana.bowls.com.au, phone 6243 8707 or email beltanabowls@bigpond.com.

Caption: MacKillip Catholic College grade 10 students, from left, Luke Petrusma, Hollie Noel, Lilli Preddy-Howard and Seth Denby test their skills at lawn bowls as part of the Beltana Bowls Club school’s program.