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Bowls In Focus : October 2009
36 Bowls In Focus Anne & Greg Sherman 12 Nolan Street Bendigo, Vic. 3550 Phone: 03 5442 2199 Fax: 03 5441 6619 WE SELL ALL MAJOR BRANDS OF LAWN BOWLS Specialised advice & coaching on all your bowling needs. Drakes Pride Australia Country VICTORIA’S largest range of bowls clothing, accessories, new & second hand bowls. The relaunch of the Richmond Union Bowling Club last month was such a monumental occasion that the RAAF organised a flypast of pre-World War II airplanes. Just at mid-afternoon as celebra- tions reached a crescendo with the clubhouse and two greens packed with members, friends and curious Richmond residents, a formation of six ancient warplanes droned overhead with a perceptible dipping of wings towards the Gleadell St club. “How appropriate,” knowingly nodded a former air force serviceman, gazing skyward, “ they’re Tiger Moths.” Although the Tigers club executive denied the flypast had been specially arranged, there was a glint in president Trevor Walker’s eyes that indicated otherwise. It could have been sun glare, of course. When biplanes similar to the Tiger Moth flew in combat in 1918, the Richmond Union club was already 50 years old. Biplanes were the peak of aviation, the high flyers of the day in aerial warfare. Now the Tigers aim to be the high flyers of Melbourne bowls, so the September relaunch was the public announcement of this intention. Richmond Union’s commitment to bowls ex- cellence took off in January when they decided to begin replacing the less-than-satisfactory bent greens with drought-friendly couch grass. One green was replaced with the increasingly popular tift dwarf and the other will be couchified next January, straight after the annual Masters Singles Championship. The next step on the upward flight path was the appointment of couch expert Nathan Swincer as greenkeeper, followed by Luke Wells as secretary manager. To complete the trifecta, Australian silver tier squad member Neville Rodda joined the Tigers as coach. Then came the clubhouse. The tired old 1970s brick ambiance sobbed for an update, and those plaintive pleas were heard. The club has poured thousands into upgrading the bar, interior walls and lighting. Large flat-screen TVs add to the club’s attractiveness as a commercial venue and the exterior walls have been plastered. A major part of the club’s rebirth was launch- ing a new brand image, the massive bowls- tearing tiger with claws like plough tines now dominating club stationery and the intimidating new black pennant outfit. To complete the exercise a massive version of the club brand dominates the front entrance. The giant black and yellow logo screams a warning to visiting pennant teams: enter at your own risk! And the club’s legendary cheap Friday night meals have been further improved with chef Allan Stone taking over the pots and pans to introduce a wider menu backed by the excellent beef and lamb products of Castricum Brothers in Dandenong. At the relaunch, Walker restated the club’s ambitions to climb to the peak of Victorian bowls. There’s plenty more to be done inside the clubhouse and outside, and no shirking will be countenanced. “We believe we have a lot to offer the Rich- mond community. We want to be a better club on and off the green,” Walker said. “We recognised we needed better things in place - better greens, updated facilities, a high-quality coach. The renovated clubhouse provides the local community an improved venue for functions. We can now provide live music, including a return concert by The Models on 6 November,” Walker said. Special guest for the RUBC relaunch was Bowls Australia executive officer Neil Dalrymple, who applauded the inner city club on its invest- ment towards excellence. “I congratulate Richmond Union on address- ing a number of issues that are important for the growth of our sport. These facilities are first class, it’s a great club. The club has done a ter- rific job,” he said. To baptise the new couch grass on relaunch day, Henselite provided the club with sets of its new Alpha product to roll up and down the rinks. There was no shortage of trundlers wanting to lay hand on the newest thing in world bowls. We dip our lids to the RUBC’s investment in the future, just like the wing-dipping salute from those old flyboys. - Peter Gerty • Top: Enter at your own risk: the new Richmond Union brand on its entrance wall ‘welcomes’ visitors. • Above: New greenkeeper Nathan Swincer sends one down in the club’s new pennant outfit. Taking A Tiger By The Tail
August September 2009