Bowls in Australia – A Popular Sport
Bowls in Australia is a fiercely competitive sport and in fact more than half of the world’s players come from Down Under. In fact four Australian nationals are ranked among the top 16 male singles players in the world, including the world’s two best players, Leif Selby and Brett Wilkie (rankings compiled November 2011).
Among the top female world players are Karen Murphy (ranked fourth), the new 2012 women’s indoor singles champion Kelsey Cottrell (ranked eighth) and Joyce Lindores (ranked 16th).
Lawn bowls in the country has players aged between 9 to 90 years and one of the beauties of the sport is that it attracts people of all abilities, including blind players. Here is a history of bowls in Australia, and how Australian bowlers can save money by buying from Bowls World.
History of the Game
The first ever bowling club in Australia was in Melbourne and was founded on October 1, 1864, in nearby Windsor. The club was open to high society players such as politicians, businessmen and government officials who each paid a premium to play. At about the same time rules came to be written down so players could agree on how the game should be played.
The first grand bowling tournament happened in 1873. It was hosted by Melbourne and included a tournament between six cities. The gentlemen finished the day by drinking a toast to the Queen.
By 1880 the first bowling associations were formed in Australia. These were the New South Wales and the Victorian Associations and were the first of their kind in the world.
Lawn bowling became a mass sport after the World War One when it was opened up to the working classes and female players for the first time.
In the 1930 the first plastic bowls were invented by R W Hensell, which revolutionised the game and meant balls became more standardised in weight and shape than rubber or wooden bowls. This meant the ball could keep its shape under many different climatic conditions and in the long-run led to cheaper bowls.
The game became increasingly popular after the Second World War and reached its peak in the 1960s with more than half a million Australian players. People had to wait a couple of years to join a club because they were so exclusive.
Exciting plans are afoot to revolutionise lawn bowls in Australia. There will be the creation of the Australian premier league in October 2012 which will take the game to a whole new level and change the way the game is played and perceived.
The plans are to take the best elements of the game and make it high impact, fast paced and highly competitive. Big prize money, thought to be around $100,000 dollars, will be up for grabs and the game will attract greater publicity and sponsorship.
Martin Curtis, of Bowls World, said: “I think this spells fantastic news for the sport in Australia and will make great viewing for people with Sky Sports who can watch the game in the UK.
“It is not expected to change how the game is played in the UK as we will still follow the rules laid down by the World Bowls World and subsequently Bowls England. However, it will bring the game more publicity on this side of the globe and that can only be good for the sport in general.”
Differences in the Game
On the amateur side of the sport there are no differences compared to the English game as they are all governed by the same body, World Bowls Limited. However, playing conditions do differ.
Australian greens tend to be very fast compared to their UK counterparts. In Australia they prefer a straighter running bowl to combat the very wide drawing greens, as the faster the green the wider the draw will be.
As a result the tactics of bowls Australia may differ to that of the UK in that the ‘drive’ or ‘up’ shot is used more often and to great effect. It will be used to break up a head of bowls where the player feels there is no chance of drawing shot. This can sometimes be used very early on in the end and sometimes as early as the second bowl. This technique is referred to as the ‘draw and drive’ game, rarely seen here, as in the UK it is possible to bowl consistently to within inches of the jack.
The very quick and wide drawing greens in Australia can make this pretty much impossible with a bowl which is two feet away from the jack becoming a winning bowl. With the greens so fast, bowls can be affected by strong side winds, but this is more usual in New Zealand.
Many of the bowls greens in Australia are not made of grass as we know it, but are played on ‘Cotula weed’ which is cut to its bare roots for play. This is very resilient to dry weather and grows very easily and rapidly, so much so the Agriculture and Fisheries Commission have banned it from being brought into the UK as they think it could become rampant here.
Bowls Clothing in Australia
The Australian bowls dress code is much more relaxed than in the UK. The main difference is that shorts are worn instead of trousers. These are worn with long white socks. The ladies wear sports trousers, like tracksuit bottoms. There is much more colour in the clothing to distinguish between teams.
Mr Curtis said: “Lawn Bowls in Australia seem to receive much better publicity and TV coverage than in the UK. There doesn’t seem to be the stigmas attached to the game like there is over here of being an old man’s game.
“When I played as a 13-year-old in the 70s I was afraid to mention it to my mates at school for fear of Mickey taking. I understand from today’s youngsters in this country it is pretty much still the same.”
Bowls World sell a wide range of bowls clothing including ladies’ clothing, men’s clothing, junior bowls clothing, outdoor bowls clothing, water proof bowls clothing, bowls tops, bowls trousers, shorts, T-shirts, jumpers, fleeces, gilets, shirts, jackets, gloves, bowls headwear, sunhats, rain hats, caps, visors, and bowls shoes for men and women. It also includes clothing by Taylor, Drakes Pride and the Australian make Henselite.
Equipment Sold By Bowls World
Bowls World sell a wide range of bowls equipment and accessories such as flat green and crown green bowls from leading manufacturers Taylor, Drakes Pride and Henselite. We also sell a variety of gift vouchers and books, bowls club equipment and coaching aids and bowls accessories such as measures, grip waxes, chalk holders, spray chalk and scorecard holders.
In addition to this we also sell indoor bowls equipment for short mat and carpet bowls, including 30ft and 45ft carpets.
All our bowls equipment and clothing is available to buy in Australia. Overseas orders are sent by UPS (three to four days trackable) or they can also be sent via DPD European Road Service which takes two to three days. Shipping costs will automatically be added to your order.
Once you give your address you can see the exact total of your order before submitting it online.
How Australian Customers Can Benefit from Bowls World
Bowls World sell mainly bowls to Australia and our overseas sales account for 40% of our business which is growing each year. Australia is our biggest overseas market with over 250 bowls sets shipped last year. Each set costs Â£69.99GBP to ship, but of course Australian bowls customers do not have to pay the VAT.
The bowls are very expensive in Australia, which means a customer from Down Under can buy a set in the UK and have them shipped to Australia, and still save over $100 AUD. By getting together with other bowls members and having four sets shipped at the same time, this will reduce the shipping costs to Â£40.00 GBP a set, so it’s easy to see the massive savings to be made.
The most popular model by far that Bowls World ship to Australia is the Taylor Vector VS, with its narrow bias suited to very fast greens. It performs very well in Australian playing conditions.
To make buying as easy as possible, you can use our currency converter to calculate how much your order is going to cost in Australian Dollars.
Bowls World stocks a wide range of bowls, clothing and accessories, and our customers come from the UK and worldwide. Click here to buy online.