BOWLS AWAY: Coomealla bowler Pat McDermott sends one down the green during Wednesday’s social roll up in brilliant sunshine. PHOTO: PAUL MENSCH

By MITCH RODD

WITH so many unknowns surrounding sport at the moment, bowlers can be safe in the knowledge they can continue to hit the greens.

That is certainly the case at the Coomealla Bowls Club, who are continuing to provide an outlet that can help boost wellbeing and camaraderie.

Sure, some of the COVID-19 restrictions have had an impact, including the limiting of Victorians allowed over the bridge into NSW, however, members continue to roll along.

President Tom Bath said membership numbers have dipped slightly, but the club itself is still in a solid position.

“We’re extremely lucky in the fact our club is owned by the Coomealla Memorial Sporting Club and we’re here as tenants,” he said.

“The impact for us in more on people being able to play rather than having to keep the club running.

“We haven’t really been able to structure any social bowls, we’ve just been having roll ups, but we’ve found about the 1pm time slot on a Wednesday and Sunday is when most people have been coming.

“Depending on what happens over the next few weeks we’ll see how that scheduling goes. We have all the hand sanitiser and the social distancing regulations in place. The biggest thing for us is having a small social room, so to ensure social distancing we’re staying outside as much as possible.

“There’s nothing worse than being locked up inside so we want to give people something that helps their wellbeing and keeps the camaraderie up. We currently have 45 members and 15 social members, and probably 40 per cent of our members are ‘bridge hoppers’.

“All our guidelines are run by and approved by Craig Muir, the general manager of the Coomealla Club. He calls the shots given the fact that we are part of the club.”

Tom said the club would continue to allow bowlers access on a social basis, however there are no tournaments currently in the works. 

“The biggest one was set for September and to be sponsored by the Sporting Club, but there were so many logistical issues that it just wouldn’t really work,” he said. “You can’t plan a lot at the moment because of how things are changing.

“Right now we’ve got nowhere near the normal amount of bowlers we would have, but some are still coming across and looking for games.

“I think some people are still a bit unsure of how the permits work but as long as you live within 50km of the border you can get a pass. As long as you have your pass and ID when you cross the bridge you should be fine, it’s not like you’ll be locked up if they don’t let you through.

“We have bowlers from as far away as Nangiloc still interested in coming out for a game.”

Tom has been a mainstay of the club, having held the presidency for the past decade and having been made a life member. He intends, however, to step away from the top position at the club’s upcoming general meeting on Tuesday.

“You can never confirm anything until it happens but we look like we have someone lined up for the position, it’s all about the formalities now,” he said.

“I have to save my marriage, I think my wife has had enough of me spending all my time at the bowls club!” he laughed.

“There are some exciting things ahead for the club and some great projects in the works.”