Page 5157-5158                                         HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY                          Wednesday, 5 May 2021

The Hon. G.G. BROCK (Frome) (16:04): Today, I would like to talk about the opening of the new greens at the Watervale Bowling Club recently.

An honourable member interjecting:

The Hon. G.G. BROCK: A very good club, isn’t it? Yes. For many years, this club’s greens had the reputation of being the heaviest or the slowest in the Mid North. They certainly were not the favourite greens to bowl on for many clubs and were never suitable for regional or state events. Very few finals were played at Watervale, which meant that the club missed out on very valuable fundraising and income for the club itself.

The committee knew that something had to be done about that, therefore they looked at the opportunity of applying for a grant for an artificial surface. However, this was in the vicinity of $160,000 which, even with a successful grant, would have been well and truly out of the club’s reach. The club then investigated other opportunities which resulted in the club utilising Tifdwarf grass which was better suited than the existing Santa Ana turf that they already had. They applied for a grant and were successful in getting $25,000 from the Office for Recreation, Sport and Racing. They were also successful in achieving a grant of $4,500 from the Clare and Gilbert Valleys Council. The whole project cost about $33,000. The rest of the money came from the club itself.

That was the very easy part. The club had to remove the existing turf in squares of approximately 300 millimetres by 300 millimetres, which worked out to be about 10,000 squares which had to be lifted up. This was carried out over three different Sundays with a lot of sore bodies after the final square had been removed. Clippings from the Torrensville Bowling Club on South Road were laid by club members working with the contractor to sow the new greens.

Once the clippings were put out, the growing process began. However, the hot weather arrived over the next three to four days with the temperature in the high 30s to low 40s. The committee members tried to keep the moisture up. No matter how much they tried, they just could not keep the moisture up, but they persevered. At the end of the hot weather, there were high winds that ripped up the grow mat and spread it around most of the rink which required the group themselves to try to peg it back down, but the winds kept picking it up. To overcome this, the members found themselves numerous bricks and pavers to help hold the net down. This is not the best way to start a new green.

For that season, there was no bowls at Watervale. However, they thought that the 2020-21 season would be okay to play, but the greens had not progressed as quickly as they had hoped. Basically, there were no games played at Watervale for that whole season. Since that first game in early February this year, there has been a tremendous improvement in how the greens are rolling.

With the right maintenance program over the winter months and through the early spring, these greens at Watervale will be in fantastic condition for the 2021-22 season. There is no doubt that all club members will be looking forward to a full season at home. However, after all these traumatic incidents, the greens have turned out to be a very good surface for bowls to be played on.

The opening of the greens and the season were a great success, with the exception of the first bowl I had to put down. The first one went a bit too far down; the green was just a bit too fast.

An honourable member: Blame the green!

The Hon. G.G. BROCK: I blame the green. The second one was perfect, just about right on, but you could only count the first one. However, what has happened so far just goes to show the dedication, value and persistence of volunteers. From what started out as an original discussion, establishing a new green facility sounded easy. It sounded easy when it first involved the laying of the clippings with the mat. However, Mother Nature in this case intervened and, as mentioned earlier, despite the challenges, these volunteers and members have my greatest admiration for the dedication, persistence and loyalty they had for their club at Watervale.

The Watervale Bowling Club, like other clubs in my electorate, could not survive without its sponsors, of which I am one, and their volunteers and community assistance. One of the things I will miss with the redistribution is the camaraderie and being able to visit clubs like the bowling clubs across the current electorate of Frome. Again, I congratulate everybody. I cannot say thanks enough for the volunteers out there who assist in getting these clubs to where they are today.