From Head Office
– By Chief Executive Graeme Bridge
The decisions to cancel Pennant around the state last weekend were the right ones, and we appreciate the understanding and support shown by members for those decisions.
Bowls Victoria and the Metropolitan Pennant committee made an early call to cancel Round 11 of Saturday Metro Pennant amid forecasts of 40-plus degree heat and potentially unsafe conditions.
Other divisions who weren’t having their festive season break also cancelled their Pennant.
As Saturday’s searing heat and some of the frightening images we saw around our state over the weekend showed, it was the correct decision in all cases.
We’re mindful of the fact we want our members around playing. In these situations, it’s all about mitigating the risk to our members, and that’s part and parcel of our duty of care to you.
Bowls is for the season, not for one day. We look forward to all our members returning to Pennant action in the New Year.
You will see get a rare opportunity to see many of Australia’s best bowlers up close at the Victoria v NSW Test series at Mulgrave Country Club on January 20-21.
The first time a Test series against NSW was conducted was in 1880, and this is the 136th time this rivalry has been contested.
It’s a different timeslot this year. It hasn’t been in January in quite a long time – it has usually been conducted in either March and April.
NSW are the yardstick in terms of basing your level of performance due to the number of international representatives in their sides.
We were comprehensively beaten in Wagga Wagga last year, and in the last 20 years NSW have been pretty dominant. Victoria will be keen to make amends.
It’s critical in a three-Test series to get that first Test under your jumper. It’s pretty hard to win it from one-down.
Mulgrave is a great venue, and on day one, there will be an afternoon session and a twilight session.
So that means people can get down to watch some great bowlers after they finish work, or if they have something else on during the day.
It’s about giving those people an opportunity who normally wouldn’t get the chance to watch interstate bowls the opportunity to get along and have a look at it.
The NSW women’s team is virtually an international team – the whole team has international experience.
There’s a good mix on both sides of having national and international standard players.
It gives us the opportunity to showcase the best senior and Under 25 talent that Victoria and NSW have got to offer. You’d be mad to miss it.
As the year closes, it’s fair to say it’s been a big 2015 for Bowls Victoria.
One of the things Bowls Victoria is proudest of is introducing our Volunteer of the Year award to acknowledge those at Club and Region level who work so hard at the sport’s coalface, and really are the lifeblood of our sport.
Without that voluntary contribution, our sport simply doesn’t function.
It will be a similar format for 2016, and we will aim to get information out earlier to clubs from the get-go. We had 53 entries from clubs last year. We want to see more clubs embrace the opportunity to nominate a club volunteer of the year in 2016.
Do you have someone doing great things as a volunteer at your club? For goodness sakes, nominate them. They’re in it with the same chance as anyone else. We just need to know about them, and like they used to say about the Lotto, you’ve got to be in it to win it.
Other things we’ve been pleased with in 2015 include the transition from a printed magazine to multiple digital methods of getting our message out.
While we’ve cut the ties to a printed magazine, we think we’ve got much more success in getting information out to our rank and file membership quickly and effectively through the introduction of Heads Up, and via our www.bowlsvic.org.au website which has been revamped.
The website is updated regularly and is drawing record numbers of hits, and there’s also Bowls Victoria’s social media platforms on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn to help spread the message immediately.
As an organisation this year, we’ve also embraced inclusive practice to bring everybody under the one umbrella.
We recognise our able-bodied athletes, athletes with a physical and intellectual disability, our Bowlers Arm athletes, and they’re all treated the same. No differentiation.
Our working relationship with regional councils and shires to get the message out about events is bearing dividends. A lot of our major events – like this year’s highly successful Victorian Open – have been conducted in regional areas and we thank those regions for their ongoing support of bowls.
That’s a real strong bond we have in regards to dealing with municipalities which aren’t metro-based.
We have so many highly-principled stakeholders who believe in our sport, and we need the buy-in from our members to support them as well.
It would be remiss of me not to thank the staff we have at Bowls Victoria for their 2015 efforts.
We’ve got a great staff who do try their very, very best to cover off on everything we can for our clubs, members and volunteer workforce.
They want to help, and they are doing a great job.
A reminder the Bowls Victoria office will be closed from midday, December 23. We re-open on Monday, January 4.
We wish all of you a safe and Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year.