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By Editor in on 31 Oct 2008
The chances of former Commonwealth Games gold medallist Trevor Morris capturing the winner's purse this weekend look bleak after his Mount Isa club went bankrupt 12 months ago. There were three bowling clubs in the Queensland mining town but the once flourishing Eastern Suburbs club has now gone into recess.
"The green and the clubrooms are there but there are no players and supporters," Morris said. "The club is like a ghost town." Morris was one of Australia's most successful international bowlers from 1988 to 1996. He won a gold medal in the Commonwealth Games pairs in 1990 and represented his country at World Bowls in 1988 and 1992.
He explained why his club went into recess. "Mount Isa is a mining town and the mines operate on shift work over 24hr," Morris said. "When guys retire they leave town." The Eastern Suburbs club once had 40 playing members and 700 social members. "It was just bad management," Morris said.
The club was financed through poker machines but the club was not able to sustain the staff necessary to make the club financially viable. Morris said that clubs that operate poker machines can sustain themselves in big cities like Sydney and Melbourne but not in smaller towns. He said some bowling clubs in Australia were struggling to retain members and several were going into recess.
The problem of dwindling numbers is also a problem in New Zealand, with Bowls New Zealand encouraging smaller clubs to amalgamate. "But that won't happen to North East Valley, because it is a family-oriented club with most of the work done by volunteers," Morris said.
Manager and greenkeeper Terry Scott is the only paid employer at the North East Valley club. Robert Gibson has recently taken up a similar position at the Taieri club.
Source & More: www.odt.co.nz
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