Club launches long-held junior academy dream

(Back, from left) Marlie Mison, Layla Werner and Phoebe and Gabriella Crothers; middle Deniliquin RSL Bowling Club president Tony Tonta and former junior bowler and Deni North School teacher Carly Crothers; (front) Monique Crothers.

Bowls is "no longer an old person’s sport“, and the Deniliquin RSL Bowling Club says it wants to recognise that with a first of its kind program in the Riverina.

The club is starting an Edward River Junior Bowls Academy, with practice nights for high school and primary school aged children kicking off from today.

The academy would come under the Deniliquin RSL Bowling Club umbrella, but with instructors from its ranks and the Deniliquin Bowling Club.

Deniliquin RSL Bowling Club president Tony Tonta said the benefits of such a program are many.

“A program like this gives those young people who don’t want to play football, netball or cricket something else they can do to be involved in club sport, and to get out and be active and social.

“Lawns bowls is a non-contact sport that promotes confidence, motivation, skills, discipline and positive team building.

“And of course a program like this is not just about the kids.

“We also want their parents and other family members to be more involved in bowls, and hopefully that will feed in to our clubs.”

Mr Tonta said a dedicated junior bowls program has been on the club’s agenda for three years, with previously arranged high school and primary school program impeded by the COVID-19 pandemic and associated restrictions.

The club finally launched a Rookie Rollers program in the Easter school holidays, with 12 attended bowls days at the club and 55 participants at the Intereach OOSH holiday program taking part.

“With the support of Bowls Victoria we were able to buy a Rookie Rollers Kit, which includes foam bowls that can be used on any surface.

“This allows us to take the bowls to the children, and we hope it can be made part of the school curriculum.

“There is nothing like this in the Riverina region.

“Those taking part in the Edward River Junior Bowls Academy, young people can learn from Linda Harris, Larry Seely, Wayne Bradley, Jenny Tonta and myself. More volunteer instructors would be welcome, provided they have the necessary working with children checks.”

The Edward River Junior Bowls Academy is open to boys and girls in Year 5 and up, and practice nights are free to attend.

You don’t need to have experience or your own equipment, just come in casual clothes and joggers.

The primary school practice nights, for Year 5 and 6 students, will be held Wednesdays May 11, 18 and 25 from 4pm to 5.30pm.

The high school sessions for Years 7 to 11 students will be tonight, and then the following Tuesdays in May from 4pm to 5.30pm.

For more information, phone Mr Tonta on 0418 817 744 or Mr Bradley on 0428 811 603.