Belmont Services Junior Bowls Clinic
It may have been a coincidence that the 2023 Queensland Junior State Bowls Championships commenced in the same week that Belmont Services Bowls Club conducted a Junior Bowls Clinic – but was it actually an omen of what may be ahead for the Belmont Juniors!
The management of Belmont, like many other clubs in the State, had noted with concern that the bowling cohort in the club was not only getting smaller with each passing year, but also older. Contrasting that overall position, was that in recent years the club’s winning Pennants First Division team had been blessed with some very talented juniors. The contrast is even starker when you add that those same juniors also helped the club win the 2020 State Pennant title.
With this in mind, the club management decided that more effort was required, in close cooperation with the BelmontLadies Bowls Club, to promote our great game with the youth in the local area by conducting a Junior Bowls Clinic. The club’s Member’s Services Sub-Committee got to work with planning the clinic and marshalling resources needed from both the ladies and men’s sections.
Over a two-day period in January, children from the surrounding area in south Brisbane were invited to participate in a free clinic to learn about and play lawn bowls at the Belmont Services Bowls Club. The clinic attracted about 20 children from age seven to 16.
Kane Nelson (himself a recent graduate of Belmont’s junior ranks) participated in the opening session of the clinic and shared his experiences in playing lawn bowls and the very positive impact it has already had.
The children’s enthusiasm and energy over the two days was infectious and instantly the members of the club knew they had made the right decision to see if our game could attract and hold the attention of the next generation. The mother of young Molly (7) and Connor (8) said that after the first day of the clinic they were practicing that night on their home carpet in preparation for the second day. The feedback received by the Belmont Club from the parents and guardians confirmed the success of the clinic. Many people expressed the hope that more clinics and a Junior Bowls Program would be developed at the club.
“The club management team was impressed with the response to the clinic and is keen to see it blossom into a strong junior bowls program here at Belmont,” said Club President, Trevor Mitchell.
“We are hoping to secure grant funding to underpin the program and, in particular, to ensure the girls and boys who participate have full access to state-of-the-art equipment, coaching and training aids to develop their skills,” he said.
“We know that these young girls and boys can develop into champion bowlers of the future. We have seen it first-hand here at our club. However, we also recognise that there are many levels of participation in lawn bowls and there is a huge amount of fun and enjoyment across all levels ahead for these young bowlers. It is wonderful to see the children from the clinic embark on that fantastic journey.”
“In years to come, it may be young girls and boys from the Belmont Junior Bowls Program that join others in attending the new Bowls Queensland High Performance Youth Academy. Keep an eye out for them,” Belmont Ladies Club President, Glenys Pollock said.
Contributed by Paul Turner