Bowlo On A Roll-o With Futsal And Randwick City FC.
The Maroubra Memorial Bowling Club (MMBC), on the corner of Mons Avenue and Malabar Road, has been a fixture of this (largely) sedate seaside suburb since its dedication in 1956 and has a proud history of offering members and the wider community a range of leisure and recreational activities.
Unfortunately, the financial challenges confronting many small clubs were felt at the Bowling Club. Changes in government legislation, a dwindling membership base and increased operating costs compelled the club to consider alternative revenue streams.
Thankfully, in 2009 three local amateur soccer players presented an innovative proposal to address the Bowling Club’s financial position and deliver something new and exciting to Eastern Suburbs soccer players.
The trio formed a not-for-profit organisation, Maroubra Futsal Pty Ltd, to work in partnership with the MMBC and convert a bowling green to two futsal pitches. The aim was to run futsal competitions during the soccer season’s annual summer break, and via charitable donations, financially assist the Bowlo.
For followers of Australia’s many egg-ball codes, futsal is a variant of traditional 5-a-side soccer. Played with a smaller, less bouncy ball, it emphasises speed, fitness and close control and is specifically designed to promote the development of fundamental technical skills, particularly amongst younger players. The success of soccer powerhouses Brazil, Holland, Italy and Spain is regularly credited to their junior players growing up playing futsal all year round.
Futsal was an instant hit with Eastern Suburbs soccer players. Conditioned to playing on scorched, grassless paddocks so moth-eaten and potholed that Borat’s goatherd uncle would refuse to graze his flock on them for fear of crippling them, the lure of the billiard-table perfection of a bowling green was irresistible. That year’s financial contribution from Maroubra Futsal Pty to the Bowlo, combined with the increased patronage of the bistro and bar by hungry and thirsty Harry Kewell and Ellyse Perry wannabes – some of whom have been unflatteringly described as ‘early middle-aged men trapped in particularly thirsty late middle-aged men’s bodies’ – reduced MMBC’s trading losses that year.
Futsal’s second year has been even more successful with the Bowling Club now running the futsal competitions. Multiple competitions for junior boys, girls and senior men and women were held and the financial position of the MMBC has continued to improve. It is this success, not only financial, but more importantly the social capital and sense of community that the Futsal/MMBC partnership has created, which has inspired a dedicated group of volunteers to undertake an even more ambitious plan.
Randwick City Football Club (RCFC), the newest football club in the Eastern Suburbs, was formed in mid 2010 with a credo of ‘A Sense of Club, Place and Community’. RCFC is founded on a culture of inclusiveness, betterment and camaraderie and aims to recruit players from all corners of the Randwick municipality.
Using the MMBC as an official clubhouse, RCFC will enter men’s sides in the Sydney Amateur Football League’s 2011 competition, while all-age women’s teams will play futsal at the Bowling Club. Junior boys and girls under 5s, 6s, 7s and 8s will also play futsal and train under the watchful eyes of experienced coaches, themselves all under the supervision of head coach and ex-Socceroo, Gerry Gomez.
RCFC will also launch a futsal competition for players with a disability called ‘Aiming High’ and hopes to expand this competition to full-field, 11-a-side football.
RCFC’s dedicated and energetic committee is calling for players of all ages and abilities who wish to become a part of this refreshing, exciting club at a foundation level. For registration and other information, go to www.randwickcityfc.com.au
So what are you waiting for? Support your local bowling club and support Randwick City FC. The Beast commands you.