CGMBR ready for new season

By Tyler Maher

Another season of Central Goulburn Murray Bowls Region pennant is here and the organisation's new chair is excited for the summer ahead.

The CGMBR - comprising Central, Goulburn Valley and Murray bowls divisions - is the umbrella within which all of the bowlers in the region belong to.

Alan Rogers has taken on the top role from Alison Hall and was keen to get as many people involved in the sport as possible - as well as encourage those already involved to take their bowls to the next level.

“Socially, it's a great game, and we're all just trying to attract members and get them there and then in a couple of years they play pennant and away they go,” Rogers said.

“We're having a lot of interest in our club (Numurkah) in Friday pennant, which starts at half past nine in the morning and they're finished by half past one and when the heat's on they're home before it gets really hot. But with Saturday pennant we're starting in the heat of the day.

“So there are a few options there for divisions perhaps to change their thinking a bit and perhaps in the months of January and February when it is hot start at 10 in the morning on a Saturday, so there are options there.

“We have a region division challenge to try and get our bowlers to know each other more, which is on the second of February and that's been very successful, we've only run it twice but it's been very well accepted by the bowlers and the administrators as well.”

Initial CGMBR chairperson Maurie Rowlands also highlighted the division challenge as a great way for bowlers to be involved in a higher level of play and stressed the importance of everyone pitching in to help attract new players to the sport.

“Those events are a chance for players from within each division to be selected for a representative competition,” Rowlands said.

“Bowls is alive and well but always looking (for more players).

“Bowls Victoria have been trying to promote (participation) for a long time.

“It's still seen as an older person's game unfortunately, but they're all trying ways of trying to get people in.

“All we can do now as a region is try and promote events and encourage clubs to be involved in more events, try and get more members wherever they can too and encourage them to compete in pennant competitions or in tournaments.”

The region - which covers a huge area from Wallan to Jerilderie and everywhere in between - was only a young one in the grand scheme of the sport.

“2011 was when Bowls Victoria came to be, prior to that there was a men's group and a ladies group and they had a unification or an amalgamation of all bowlers,” Rowlands said.

“So not only that happened but the regional boundaries were altered a bit, so that's how it came to be that we've got our region.

“That was a big change in bowls.”

But despite its relative age, the CGMBR and its clubs punched well above its weight in all areas.

From Shepparton Golf winning the state pennant championship to the region hosting events like the Victorian Open and next year's men's and women's region sides tournaments, there was always something great happening in the area.

“The region's not a very old region and it's a huge area,” Rogers said.

“I think (Bowls Victoria) are very pleased with the amount of work the volunteers do at the clubs in running these events (like the Open).

“The volunteers around all the clubs do a magnificent job making sure all of the games are played and they're there until eight o'clock at night most nights.

“Financially, we get rewarded because they buy their meals and alcohol and all that and Vic bowls give us a fee, but ... they do a magnificent job.”

Joy O'Donnell again fills the secretary-treasurer role for the CGMBR this season.