A forum where people can express their opinions on the game and what they love about the game that no other sport can offer.

Archive for July, 2015

Interview with Jan Anlezark

NS – Hi Jan it’s a pleasure to have the opportunity to do this interview with you. As you know your the first person that I’m going to speak too about all things bowls. What got you first interested in taking up the game?

JA – I first took up the sport 15 years ago at Auburn Bowls Club which was situated in Western Sydney at the time but now no longer exists. The coach at the time was running free coaching lessons and I was having a drink and thought why not? I’m always up for trying new things,

NS – Who were the positive role models in those early months while you were learning the game? Who was there supporting your deeds on the green?

JA – My employee was a bowler at the time so I was really lucky in that he understood how time consuming the game could be. His name is Martin Bainbridge and he plays for Birrong Bowls Club (and he’s quite a handy bowler too!)

NS – How often do you get time during the week to play? Is it more working your bowls around work or the other way around?

JA – I always try to play or practise two to three times a week but that’s only happened recently since I started working for myself. Work always comes first because it’s a reliable source of income.

NS – What sort of bowls do you use at the moment and what sort of bowls have you had in the past (if any)

JA – I currently own a set of Henselite Fusions and I love them! Before that I owned a set of Redlines, but my very first set were given to me by a 94 year old lady. I’m not a gambler but I think the bowls were older than they her.

NS – What did your friends and family say when you started taking up the game? Were they supportive/confused/happy that you were still being active going into later life?

JA – My family and friends always support my sport of choice and they have even christened me with a new nickname, Granny!

NS – Have you played representative bowls and if so who for and tell me a bit what it felt like to be selected for the team? It mustve been an awesome experience knowing people respected your ability on the green?

JA – I have represented the district side in the country v city series and it was the biggest honour of my bowls career so far. I’ve also been fortunate enough to be a part of a state flag and at Guildford I managed to collect every championship on offer.

NS – What position do you usually play?

JA – That’s an interesting question that you’ve asked me Nathan. Unlike most new bowlers I didn’t play lead instead I was thurst into being skip! But to be honest with you I love the challenge and responsbility that skipping presents.

NS – Do you enter in as many tournaments as you can, or are you restricted by work/family/home life etc?

JA – I try to play as many tournaments as I can. I work for myself and now that my children have left the nest I’ve been able to play more the last 24 months as opposed to the previous thirteen years.

NS – Whats your opinion on the state of the game in your area and in general? Also do you hold any position of power at your club?

JA – I’m only new to Merrylands Bowls Club and at the moment I really have no desire for any control or power within the club. But I think the people running it now are doing an excellent job running it.

NS – What club do you play for and have you played for anyone else in the past?

JA – As I mentioned earlier I started out at Auburn BC, then I went to Lidcombe for one year then stayed the longest at Guildford Bowls Club before I moved to Merrylands just recently. At every club there’s been good and bad times but right now I feel right at home at Merrylands!

NS – Have you met anyone on the green that youve made a lifelong friendship from and on the other side is bowls a place where enemies can be made easily do you think?

JA – I’ve made three extremely close friends out of the sport in Kathy Betcher, Sue Lawrence and Vicky Hamman. We have already joked amongst ourselves that we are going to the same nursing home (laughs). Along with those three ladies I’ve met a wide variety of people and have enjoyed the friendship that the sport offers.

NS – Do you think there is sexism in bowls?

JA – There will always be sexism in bowls and I have experienced it first hand. But I try my best Nathan to stay away from all the politics.

What makes more sense closer games or stacked sides during Club Championships

This a point of debate that I’m sure happens every year at every club around Australia. Winning a club championship as a bowler is the same as winning a best and fairest for your local aussie rules team. It gives you a unique sense of pride in your ability and how you are the best of the rest in the sport your playing. So when it comes the time to play off for one of the three ‘team’ championships in Pairs, Triples and Fours who can blame people for wanting to win?

Now before I go into detail why I think stacked sides is a bad idea for the sport as a whole, I just want to point out that I strive to win every event I play in. I make no secrets about it and I’m a big believer in playing with guys who know the game well will help your game into the future. But what I’m not a believer in is allowing the top bowlers to all play together year after year.

I saw this occur way to often at my former club Queanbeyan Bowling Club, where the same group of mates played together year in year out and not letting anyone else have chance at glory. To me that’s wrong in such a beautiful game that bowls is. You should create equal opportunity for everyone, not just for your own self interests. This is especially true when you consider that Full Bowling Members at clubs don’t grow on trees like in years gone past.

Sure you can garner quite a few social members but they aren’t interested in playing Bowls seriously. They love the concept of Barefoot Bowls but don’t want to fit in a three hour game over their weekends after working all week. It doesn’t seem practical to them and who can blame them? So that’s why every single time a new member comes along they should be welcomed with open arms. That means anyone who has played top level bowls should look after them. And that’s through playing championships with them and educating them bowls wise on how great the game is.

Don’t you love it how in sports like AFL and Cricket you see young up and comers been taught by experienced pro’s and seeing them blosson? I certainly do. So why can’t the same happen in bowls. When I played my first full club championship season in 2013 I played Triples with Arthur Walters and Barry Sims. And it was the most I’ve ever learnt on a green. The two blokes were so kind to me and offered so much great advice to me about bowls but also more importantly about life.

The success of the Australian Open 2015 and what can we learn from the event

Hi everyone I know it’s been quite a while since I’ve written anything on this blog so I thought I might try and give it a go again. As some of you might know the biggest Bowls event in Australia called the Australian Open was held on the Gold Coast just last month. Run over 12 days the event catered to over 2000 bowlers from around the country and also from overseas in a battle to claim some of the $225,000 prize money on offer.

This was the first year that the event was held in Queensland after previously being the domain of Victoria since it’s inception ten years ago in 2005. It was the first year in a five year plan for Queensland to host the event, and the deserving club to host the finals were Broadbeach Bowls Club. This all ties in with the 2018 Commonwealth Games which are being held at Broadbeach and also various other youth events on the horizon.

The event as a whole I felt went off without a hitch. There was so much spirit and enjoyment showed by most of the bowlers out there and it was just great to see everyone embracing the event. For those who don’t know by now Bowls is becoming an increasingly popular sport for younger people to play and the participation of the youth out there was heartening.

A good example of this was the winner of the Men’s Singles Final. Aaron Teys beomce the second youngest winner of the event at just 21 when he defeated Canadian Silver Medallist Ryan Bester 21-17 in one of the most enthralling finals ever seen on TV.

What I also should mention is that Ryan is only 30 years old himself and was also a Bronze Medallist at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne. So that just goes to show how far young people can travel in the sport. Those perceptions of only the retired or the elderly playing are long gone.

Whilst I’m on the subject of the youth in the game I’ll like to make a mention of the Ladies Singles winner Ellen Ryan. Ellen played the final against Maree Gibbs who is 40 years her senior! Yes that’s right an 18 year old defeated a 58 year old. Who would’ve thought that even five years ago. And it wasn’t a close match like the Singles where Teys and Bester battled it out, instead Ellen got out to a sensational lead early and was never really challenged.

Having a world class coach in Gary Willis certainly helps a bit but full credit to her for playing a wonderful game when it mattered. Commerisations must go out to Maree who did remarkably well to make the Final. I know I shouldn’t harp on about her age but to make it through such a long competition and to keep winning is testament to her fighting spirit.

So what do people think of the event? I would really love to hear from anyone out there who saw the event or heard about it on TV or the radio. What positive aspects did you take away from the tournament? Did it help Queensland’s image of the sporting mecca that it wants to promote itself as?

In my opinion it just gave another example of how much we need younger bowlers playing the game. The game will always survive but the sport will be poorer if those left are ill equipped to take it forward to a new golden age. Names like Marshall, Wikie, Clarke and Cottrell can’t go on forever. Who will be the next superstars to step up and what will their legacy be?