FUN TIME: The Four Amigos team of Brett and Mary-Anne McDonald and Kylie and Troy Walker at the Charity Bowls Day at Casino RSM Bowling Club.
FUN TIME: The Four Amigos team of Brett and Mary-Anne McDonald and Kylie and Troy Walker at the Charity Bowls Day at Casino RSM Bowling Club. Susanna Freymark

Bowls Australia defends fixed fee

THE new method used by the game's controllers to collect affiliation fees, often regarded as unfair to clubs, has been defended by Bowls Australia CEO Neil Dalrymple.

This year saw the introduction of a "fixed fee” - based on the amount members paid to the club the previous year as opposed to the previous payment "per member”.

Dalrymple said the fixed fee provided an incentive for clubs to disclose their memberships, thus providing a better indication of participation figures.

"It is also designed to encourage clubs to be more flexible with the categories of membership offered and to facilitate a more progressive revenue flow from membership,” he said.

Charging on a per member basis was regarded as unsustainable into the future due to the changing participation preferences of bowlers moving away from traditional membership.

"Bowls clubs across Australia have been increasingly setting social membership categories as a response to continual increases to individual membership fees, to avoid paying full individual capitation fees,” Dalrymple said.

MY VIEW: ON THE FIXED FEE

THE Bowls Australia CEO fools nobody with his explanation of the reason for introducing the fixed capitation fee.

The real reason for its introduction was to overcome the growing tendency for clubs, many of them struggling to survive, to save money by registering only part membership. They create the officially frowned-on category of social member who pays nothing apart from his club membership fee and takes no part in state-run events.

Neil Dalrymple admits to a two per cent decline in membership in the last year, which he says was the least for many years. But clubs have to accept that decline in numbers when they are required to pay a fixed fee based on the previous year's club membership.

Instead of justifying a collection method that adds a burden to clubs, our game's controllers would be better employed finding methods that make bowls the affordable sport it once was.

It's back

AFTER a break of 12 years, the Australian championships are back. Last played at Harbord in 2004, they started yesterday at Merimbula and will run until December 1.

The singles have a star-studded field headed by Male Bowler of the Year Barrie Lester (Victoria), fellow Australian squad teammates Aron Sheriff (New South Wales) and Nathan Rice (Queensland). All the entrants will regard this as a vital hit-out for the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.

The women's singles will feature little-known Australian Champion of Champions Singles titleholder Colleen Orr, of Darwin. Also in this section is this year's Australian Indoor Singles champion Natasha Scott, of Raymond Terrace.

Dyed stockings

HOW did women bowlers change from the days when long white dresses and white stockings had unkind people calling them white leghorns?

They tossed away the measuring stick that ensured the dresses were just short of sweeping grass from the greens and dyed the stockings to the required beige shade with cold tea.

The cold tea process, a secret until now, was revealed by a speaker when a clubhouse full of women bowlers got together at Alstonville for their club's 60th birthday. They included many from the white leghorn days.

If men bowlers these days were required to dye clothing with what was available in the clubhouse, it would be more amber coloured.

Dynamic duo

TWO Warilla bowlers have taken out the singles and the pairs at the rich Hong Kong International, a highly regarded tourney that attracted 128 entries.

Jessie Noronha was the star. He won the singles and partnered Ben Twist to victory in the pairs.

Noronha's win in the singles final was 7-5, 5-5 over Scotland's John Fleming, who earlier had defeated Twist in a quarter-final.

In the pairs the Australians claimed straight-sets victories in the play-off, semi-final and final, beating England's David Bolt and Taylor Mark in the decider.

Coaching role

BOWLS Australia is offering what it says is "an exciting role for any individual who is passionate about coaching and wants to offer more to the coaching community”.

The job is with the National Coaching Advisory Group that provides advice and guidance to the Bowls Australia board in all aspects of coaching in Australia and internationally.

Drought breaker

IT'S 37 years since a Tasmanian picked up a national champion of champions title. Ron Brooks won it in 1980, now Lee Schraner in a remarkable effort on Darwin greens has done it.

It was a win out of the blue. Schraner was seventh after three rounds and two brilliant performers - Kurt Brown (Qld) and Barrie Lester (Vic) - were in his way.

A 21-11 win over Brown enabled Schraner to move up to second spot, where he was to face Lester in the final. Leading 20-13, Schraner's resting toucher wasn't moved on the last end. The single gave him the title 21-13.

New show

OVER in the West they've introduced a video show called The People of Bowls which arranges interviews with anyone connected with the game.

The blurb says it will complement the current marketing campaign called Gotta Love the Bowlo and include a mix of humour along with the more serious aspects of the sport.

Careful, Westies. I've seen the use of a comedian spoil the Premier League television commentary.