Tweed's time to band together

By GREG KELLY

NOW is as good as time as ever for Tweed Gold Coast clubs to join forces, unite and promote their major bowls events on a national scale with the aim of attracting bowlers from the southern states and NZ to stay and play here over the winter months in 2008.

Over 600 New Zealand bowlers played on the Sunshine Coast this past winter in comparison with 110 Kiwis who ventured over to play on the Tweed Gold Coast greens.

Bowls Co-ordinator "extraordinaire" Barry Sullivan from Maroochy Swan, with the backing of the Maroochy RSL has lifted the profile of the Sunshine Coast Winter Bowls Carnival to new highs and is attracting southern visitors away from the Tweed Gold Coast in droves or should that be in plane-loads.

It is no use burying our collective heads in the sand and sit on our thumbs and do nothing. It is not going to get better in the near future, not unless we all get together and come up with an attractive joint promotional package promoting our quality bowls tournaments.

It is not always easy to fill tournaments in the off-season and soon it will be even hard to fill tournaments during the winter bowls season.

The major attraction of past years, the GCTDBA Winter Bowls Carnival, has been steadily losing numbers for years now, especially with local bowlers either not playing at all or playing elsewhere, at Sunshine Coast or Coffs Harbour.

The competition from major tournaments in close proximity to the Gold Coast has cost the Gold Coast, the elite players of past years, not to mention the lower prizemoney and the ongoing saga with match fees for each match win.

Clubs officials from Pottsville, Cabarita, South Tweed and Tweed Heads met this week to formalize the 2008 Tweed Valley Shield, which will run over seven weeks in 2008, but now is the time when these same clubs should meet again and work together in a joint promotional/marketing campaign to promote their "our" winter bowls program.

Southern bowlers make their plans to travel up north for winter early in 2008 and search the internet and web-sites for dates to open bowls tournaments and a comprehensive bowls circuit so as to plan their winter bowling agenda.

The Tweed Gold Coast has a lot to offer the southern and Kiwi bowlers, but in recent years the drift away from the area is more noticeable than ever, you could say a bit like "Climate Change" it's coming, and unless we prepare and unite we will suffer a major "bowls drought" and club profits will suffer a major downturn.

THE $5,555 CardioMax Indoor Club Challenge is a new event on the bowls calendar in November with mens and ladies team playing in separate sections for a winner's purse of $1000 and runners up $500.

The 5-a-side indoor challenge is based on the very successful Helensvale National 5-a-Side Club Challenge and sides from Kingscliff, South Tweed and Burleigh Heads have accepted invitations to play in this inaugural event. The indoor tournament hosted by THBC can be seen as a first step towards forging a closer bond between the tweed clubs with Kelvin Kerkow and new Kingscliff bowls manager Neville Wood Bradley fully supported of a united club effort to promote lawn bowls on the Tweed Gold Coast.

The CardioMax tournament for Men and Women is played in Pairs, Triples, Fours and Singles and commences on Wednesday, November 28, with round one followed by two rounds on Thursday with the final on Friday, November 30.

LAWN Bowls on the Internet at www.tweedbowls.com.



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