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Keith Gives Bowls Club A Leg Up

By Duncan Horscroft on October 15, 2014 in News

Photo: Duncan Horscroft

Photo: Duncan Horscroft

Perched on the cliffs between Clovelly and Bronte, the Clovelly Bowling Club has weathered many a storm during its almost 70-year history.

One of the biggest threats the club has faced in that time was not from the weather, but from lack of patronage, which almost saw the club shut its doors.

It was the effort of one loyal member, the late Keith Robinson, who thought it was better to buck tradition and try a new tact in an effort to keep the doors open, which has seen the historic club continue to flourish.

Robinson set up a Sunday morning mufti bowls competition, where competitors could compete without the constraint of having to wear a uniform.

This new initiative was much to the disdain of some of the die-hard traditionalists, who nearly stained their creams at the thought of the idea.

A bocce club was already up and running and that support kept the club’s head above water, and that club’s 22-year involvement is still valued to this day.

Keith saw the merit of this support and decided more was needed, so he introduced a three-tier system with the licensed club, the Clovelly Men’s Bowling Club and the Clovelly Women’s Bowling Club.

“After moving from Deniliquin, Keith became an enthusiastic bowler at Clovelly,” club director Trevor Maroske said.
“It didn’t take him long before he was taking on the best in the zone.”

During that period, bowling clubs started on the decline and were struggling financially.

“That’s when Keith came to the fore with the mufti bowls idea, which became a nursery for new bowlers with the comfort of not dressing up in the traditional creams,” Maroske said.

“He also introduced barefoot bowls, which to this day is the financial backbone of the club.”

It was also revealed that Keith had at one stage donated an unclaimed lottery prize back to the club for some new equipment.

Recently a bowling green was opened in memory of Keith Robinson, in a ceremony attended by his family and members of the Clovelly Bowling Club and Bocce Club.

“Keith, as a bowler, won everything there was to win several times over,” Maroske said. “And while there is a Clovelly Bowling Club, his legacy will live on with it.”

Nowadays, thanks to the support of stalwarts like Keith Robinson, the club is powering ahead, with major renovations in the works.

The club is in huge demand with the vista of the pristine coastline of the Eastern Beaches attracting hordes of people wanting to celebrate any occasion on the greens, and it has also become a force to be reckoned with in traditional bowling competitions, with the women’s club recently winning the District Championships.

Bendigo Bank is a major sponsor of the club and the future of the bowling club is looking strong.

In a marketplace where local clubs are fighting for survival, the Clovelly Bowling Club seems to have weathered a storm of uncertainty and the long-range weather forecast looks good.