Strictly come bowling in Henley

MEYERTON. – On April 27 the Henley-on-Klip Bowling Club hosted “Strictly Come Bowling”, a novel competition that gave 36 non-bowlers and dozens of new spectators the opportunity to experience the fun and challenge of competitive bowls for the first time.

The event was part of the club’s programme for National Bowls Awareness Day, an initiative by Bowls South Africa (BSA) to promote greater interest in the sport of bowls. The annual day is also BSA’s primary fundraising event for CANSA and Disability Bowls.

A public draw from a large pool of interested applicants determined the 12 “Strictly Come Bowling” teams. Each team included three non-bowlers and one experienced bowler. The ages of the non-bowlers ranged from seven to over 70, and most had never set foot on a bowling green before.

The 12 Skips had just over a week to get their ‘greenhorn’ teams into shape before the big day!
“Strictly Come Bowling” took place over three rounds of an hour’s play each. The scorers eliminated the four lowest-scoring teams after each round, leaving four teams to contest the title in the final round.

The engaging MC Paul O’Donnell kept the crowd entertained with his amusing bowls commentary and arbitrary “fines” for a number of real and imagined infringements. All proceeds went to the nominated charities.

The winning team was Betty’s Ball Busters which came from three down going into the last head to win by one shot. In the spirit of the day, the winning players and runners-up donated their prize money to charity. There were also prizes for the Best Dressed Team and the Most Enthusiastic New Bowler.

The day started with the excitement and chaos of the “Spider”. This is a traditional event in aid of the National Blind Bowlers Association. As many bowlers as possible, spaced evenly around the perimeter of the green, simultaneously deliver a single wood towards a ‘jack’ in the centre. The closest to the little white ball wins a prize but, more importantly, each participant makes a cash donation to charity.

By all measures, the day was a resounding success. The Club raised over R10 000 for CANSA and Disability Bowls and provided good fun, good food and great entertainment for the large crowd of supporters.