By ADAM LUITJES

SITUATED close to the Murray River, surrounded by gum trees, approximately 50 kilometres south-east of Mildura, is the Nangiloc and District Bowls Club.

Full of charm and character, the bowls club was formed in 1989, and represents the Nangiloc, Colignan and Iraak communities.

Located off Kulkyne Way, the club’s bowling green and clubhouse sits adjacent to the Nangiloc Football and Netball Club, just up the road from the local tavern and supermarket.

Competing in Division Two of the Sunraysia Bowls Association (SBA), the club’s sole pennant came in 2005, with a photo of the victorious team taking pride of place in the clubhouse.

In addition to the SBA season, the club participates in annual contests against Ouyen, while it also hosts the popular Farmer’s Cup, which features games of ‘barefoot bowls’.

NDBC president, David Goldup, 73, has been with the club since its inception, and says a rapid decline in membership has left it struggling.

With approximately 15 members, David said the club “would get close” to closing its doors if it couldn’t introduce new players into the fold.

“We need the footy club to fold!” David joked. “There’s some that have been on the edge for some time, but while the footy is still going they tend to stay there.

“Our season starts before the football finals are finished, so that makes it difficult.”

Open most Friday evenings for drinks and a casual ‘roll-up,’ David said the club is known throughout the region for its welcoming and friendly atmosphere.

Involved with NDBC almost as long as David, Betty Minter, 70, is not only treasurer, but also the club’s only female player.

“I would like to see a few more ladies,” Betty said. “Fortunately the association allows me to play for another club if we don’t have enough for a ladies pennant team.”

Starting with the NDBC in 1990, Betty believes the club plays a significant role within the community.

“It means a lot to me,” she said. “It’s good for the area, and I think more people should come and join.”

NDBC project officer, committeeman and joint club delegate Alan Erskine said an exodus of players has left the club in poor shape heading into the pennant season.

“We are down to around 15 members, including a solitary female player,” Alan said. “With some bowlers having other weekend commitments at various times of the year, it’s going to be a battle to fill three rinks for the season.

“This is a vibrant club with a short but successful history, run by dedicated volunteers, and is competitive at Division Two level in the Sunraysia Bowls Association.”

RDBC membership costs $100, with more information available by contacting David Goldup on 0427 291 459, or Alan Erskine on 5029 1275.