Governance changes and state events for Bowls Victoria

By Tyler Maher

Bowls Victoria continues to work with its clubs ahead of future changes to the way the sport is governed in the state.

The Central Goulburn Murray Bowls Region — comprised of the Goulburn Valley, Murray and Central bowls divisions — will take over the governance of the divisions to help ease the burden on volunteers and administrators at club level.

Bowlers will see little to no difference as pennant structures are expected to remain largely the same, but behind the scenes the changes will streamline the governance of the sport across the state.

“I’ve been chatting with (CGMBR president) Alan Rogers recently and also met with representatives of the Central Goulburn Murray Region . . . to discuss a range of things including the proposed improvements to the governance of the sport in Victoria,” BV chief executive officer Tony Sherwill said.

“We consider ourselves very fortunate to have the GV division and the strong clubs within the area. As you know, we conduct many events there, including our flagship Victorian Open which is testament to how much we value the area.

“But improvements in governance are necessary to take us into the future. We have to combat declining volunteer numbers and lessening duplication is the key. There have been stories that it will mean that Jerilderie will play against Eildon in pennant, which I can confirm is completely untrue.

“To be clear, almost all clubs will continue to play against the same clubs they always play against with the region having control over ‘playing areas’ which allows the region to determine who should play against who, taking into account travel times.”

Changes are expected to take effect by the beginning of the 2021-22 season, with BV, region, division and club correspondence about the moves ramping up.

“There has been quite a lot of misinformation on the issue which is unfortunate and has contributed to some unnecessary angst,” Sherwill said.

“However, I’m confident that all bowlers will be able to continue to play as they were and the outcome will streamline governance procedures only.”

● The region will have plenty of marquee events to look forward to next season, starting with the under-18 State Championships.

Currently slated for Shepparton Park Bowls Club from September 21-24, the championships were originally meant to be held in April, but have been pushed back due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Victorian Open in the Goulburn Valley is still penciled in to continue as usual, with the start of this year's competition falling on November 20.

A final decision on the event will be made at the beginning of September, after which entries will open if it is safe to proceed.

Echuca-Moama will play host to the Women's Country Carnival from April 18 to 23 after missing out this year due to the sporting shutdown.

Champion of State Pennant action will return to Moama next year, with weekend (April 24 and 25) and midweek (April 26 and 27) premiers from across the BV ranks to battle it out for supremacy.

Shepparton has held on to the hosting rights of the Region Sides Championships, with the event coming to Shepparton Park, East Shepparton and Shepparton Golf from April 30.