I am a fairly optimistic natured person but I did not expect us to get this far into the 2020/21 season, but thankfully we have. Well done everyone for “doing the right thing”.  Our end of season Finals will be coming up soon for our Thursday competition from 11th March, Wednesday competition from 17th March and Saturday competition from 20th/21st  March. In the near future, we will be considering the Club Venues for hosting all of our scheduled Grand Finals. Wherever possible we will consider all of the Clubs that were due to host Finals last season that had to be cancelled because of the COVID pandemic. We schedule Venues for the Grand Finals that are neutral for all the Clubs that will participate in the Grand Finals. To further promote our pennant program to everyone we have arranged to “Livestream” all of our Premier Division Grand Finals for all days of competition. Everyone can tune in and view.

Does your Club have a Code of Conduct policy? Just recently we had to deal with a complaint on a player’s poor conduct at a pennant match. The players Club did not have a substantial policy in place to deal with the issues raised, but they do now. To formulate a policy for your Club, please refer to Bowls SA Member Protection policy (available on their website) to put one together. Circulate it to all of your members and place on your Club website. Let all of your members know what is expected of them within your premises, whether playing bowls or just socializing and also when representing your Club when playing at away venues.

 At the January 2021 Presidents meeting, I thanked all of the Clubs for partaking in the MBA’s pennant discussion paper. Members of my MBA Executive committee each visited a number of  Clubs to go through the discussion paper with each of them. Many Clubs had taken a considerable effort to seek an opinion from some of their members as well as their management committees. Overall the response from our Clubs was constructive and very informative.

 Many of the current Conditions of Play will continue for next season (2021-2022). The following changes will be applied to next seasons COP: –

  • All Divisions for ALL competition days will have Finals.
  • Wednesday pennant start times will be 10 am, 2 end roll up – Match starts at 10.15 am.
  • Wednesday 5 rink playing format will include Division 3.
  • Replay/resumed matches for the Saturday Open will also apply to Divisions 4 & 5.
  • No replays/restarts for Saturday Open Divisions 6 & 7.
  • All current break COP will remain the same as for the current season.

As announced at the Presidents meeting, our finance officer Mike Sheehan, presented a  report on the financial benefits that our member Clubs, that joined our Bulk electricity scheme from 1/4/2020, have received to date.

 All Clubs are invited to join the next phase of the scheme that will run from 1/4/2021 to  31/3/2023. Our Energy consultant has already obtained a lower price structure for the next phase that will benefit Clubs within the scheme with further electricity cost savings.     Clubs wishing to join the scheme need to provide copies of their past 12 months electricity bills to our Secretary, Ron Mulliner, by Friday 12th February. (PDF files please).  

 During the COVID pandemic, the State Government introduced many conditions for everyone to contain, limit and prevent the effects of the virus upon us all. When we see the effects of COVID, worldwide, we have all benefited so much from our Governments actions.

Many people have had to cope with a more isolated living environment over the past 10 months. Bowling Clubs have a role to play in giving people a sense of belonging and a place to go to where they feel safe and included within their Club environment.

Bowls SA has teamed up with the “Breakthrough Mental Health Research Foundation” to encourage Clubs to assist with the battle against mental illness within our society. This coming weekend is a Breakthrough Community round of bowls. Open up your Club to being more aware of some of your member’s needs in respect of caring for their health.  

 Where are we heading to in considering further changes to our Pennants competition for future years? Statistics from Bowls Australia indicate that participant numbers are falling in respect of playing in Pennant competitions. Participants in Social bowling is increasing Australia wide. How many of our Clubs manage to get their social/night owl bowlers going on to play in Pennant competitions?

 Consider the following comments about what we do at present: –

  • Night Owl programs run at evening times – out of our hot sunny summer days?
  • Social programs more than likely not playing in Fours?
  • Our current Pennant program starts for season preparation in early September going through to March – a long season for people to commit to?
  • Are our Pennant matches too long in duration?
  • Our Saturday and Thursday Pennant competitions all currently play in a 4’s discipline – is that a little boring for some players – not enough involvement in the game, like Triples and Pairs disciplines? Most Club’s that organize their own winter competitions do not play 4’s!
  • Do we start a season too early? We finish at the moment when the weather is cooling off a little and grass greens are probably running at their best playing speeds.
  • Player burn out at the higher levels of competition is of major concern. Many of these players enter into State competitions, some are chosen for State representative squads – more training and practice sessions, Super League player/squads etc.
  • We need to recognize that a one size suits all approach to our Pennant competition format is not appropriate. Division sizes, match length duration, playing disciplines all need to be considered in shaping our wonderful game for the future for a range of player needs.

 We have some changes coming up to Conditions of Play for next season: –

  • Wednesday earlier start might lead to a Saturday earlier start?
  • Wednesday nearly all divisions playing a multiple discipline format – other days?
  • We have already introduced shorter match durations in the current season when we have earlier match start times because of forecast very hot weather days – shorter matches for some divisions?  

The Board of the MBA has started the ball rolling by visiting Clubs this season to open up a closer relationship with Clubs to gather more input/suggestions/comments in respect of the Pennant competitions.     

Our experience with our visits, regarding our Pennant discussion paper, was that some Clubs did not consult enough with a broader range of their membership. Those Clubs that did consult with a broader group of members were in a stronger position to better reflect their views on the discussion paper content.    

There will be future visits to Clubs to seek opinion and suggestions to further improve the Pennant program for all to enjoy. Next time we hope that all Clubs will endeavour to include more of their members in considering changes to the Pennant program.

Kind regards

Mike Porter

 MBA President