BY IAN THORPE
It’s time to lace on those flat-soled shoes! Bowling is very much on the radar this week, with action happening both inside on hardwood and outside on grass…
First to the inside alleys, as Brechin Lanes on East Wellington Road is hosting the B.C. Five Pin Bowling Association’s provincial championships. A total of 126 athletes and coaches for all over the province will be here in Nanaimo to compete. The event runs this Friday through Sunday, April 19-21 and owner Ray Brittain from Brechin Lanes invites spectators to come and enjoy the action. Gold medal winners from the championship will advance to nationals next month and hopefully some local bowlers will be among them.
Moving outside, another season of lawn bowling is just about to get underway, much to the delight of members of the Nanaimo Lawn Bowling Club. NLBC is one of this city’s oldest sports organizations, with this year marking its 96th year of operation. The club’s home bowling green is located in the beautiful setting of Bowen Park, with the clubhouse and covered patio area adjacent to the Bowen activity centre.
Two weekends ago, club members gathered at the clubhouse for the annual spring meeting, where plans for the coming season were discussed. Returning as president for the year ahead is Bernice Urbaniak, assisted by vice-president Jean Jacobsen. Shirley Phillips is the secretary and John Randle is club treasurer. Others on the board of directors include Frances Tester who heads the games committee and Darrell Chapman who is head greenskeeper. Fred Hulke looks after the canteen, while Kathleen Hewitt coordinates the kitchen, Irene Toulouse is the club’s social coordinator and Vernie Dawkin handles membership duties.
This past Sunday marked the official opening day of the lawn bowling season. Many of the club members wearing their ‘whites’ were on hand at Bowen for a ‘Waking the Green’ ceremony led by piper Gordon Webb. Following a welcome from the club president, the official opening bowl was delivered by the club’s longest-serving member. Mona Haddad is entering her 46th year as a club bowler and still shows fine form with her delivery.
The club offers leagues to suit just about anyone, including men’s, ladies’, mixed and sight-impaired leagues. At various times during each week there are competition formats with games for singles, doubles, triples and foursomes. All ability levels are also catered to. During the year there are competitive tournaments, but also many club games designed for those who simply want to have fun and socialize. Along with that, NLBC has a strong social component, with events such as potluck dinners, club barbecues and tea and bowls on Sundays.
League action will get underway on the green at the end of this month and the first club tournament of the year will be the Jim Gavin Mixed Fours on April 28. The bowling season will then continue until the end of September.
Lawn bowls is a fun, inter-generational sport and new members are always made welcome. To that end, the club is hosting open houses on April 20 and April 27, from 1-4 p.m. each day at the green. Club coaches will be on hand to explain the basics. Equipment is supplied, but guests are asked to wear comfortable clothing and flat-soled shoes. There will also be a special open house for new vision-impaired bowlers on May 14.
For more information, check out www.nanaimolawnbowling.com.
Whatever your sport, a reminder in closing to play your hardest, play fair, and show good sportsmanship.