Walmer Bowling Club looks to future of the sport
100 years and counting
As the Walmer Bowling Club celebrates 100 years of existence, club president Jack Haskings hopes to attract more young people to the sport to continuing its legacy.
Speaking to The Herald on Monday, Haskings said it was an honour to be part of the club, which has stood the test of time.
A member for eight years, and president for the past two years, Haskings said the club was established in February 1919, shortly after the end of World War 1.
“The grounds were part of the Market Square, and it was on a piece of ground that the club was first established.
“Members of the then town council set aside this piece of ground as they were keen to play bowls.
“It started out with just 17 members, and it has since grown to over 170 members today,” Haskings said.
He said the Walmer premises were purchased by the club from the municipality in the early 1990s, and facility had since grown into one of the most well-equipped clubs in the city.
“From the original green, we now have three greens.
The club house was also purchased from the municipality, we have extended the club and it is now quite a substantial building, fully facilitated with all the amenities of a modern club,” Haskings said.
The club is also unique in that it is home to two of the sport’s presidents in Rob Forbes (Bowls SA) and Brian Buchanan (EP Bowls).
“This is very unique, and to have these men be part of our club, is a massive honour, as it shows their levels of dedication and passion for the sport,” Haskings said.
Despite not producing many players who have represented the country, Haskings said 2018 saw Willie Killian take the SA Masters Senior title.
“We also play in the annual league with other teams across the Eastern Province, in which our ladies usually do very well, but our men’s team have never won the first division.
“So that is one of our goals going forward,” Haskings said with a chuckle.
A full programme of bowls kept the greens full for at least five days a week.
The club’s centenary celebrations kicked off with a cocktail event last week.
The event saw dignitaries from the bowls associations around the Eastern Cape come to share in the club’s historic milestone.
Haskings said the club would play host to a number of events as part of the celebrations, kicking off with the club hosting the headquarters for the All Cape Bowls Competition scheduled for late March and ending on April 13.
Haskings also said other events such as an Easter Tournament as well the Centenary Tournament in June featuring 36 teams from around the province were scheduled.
Looking forward to the next 100 years, Haskings said the main vision was to attract more people, especially the younger generation, in the hope of keeping the sport thriving.
“That comes with its own challenges, as many people between the ages of 25 and 40 are tied up with family commitments, and that is one of our target markets.
“On the other hand, we are also looking at active sportsmen and women looking for another sport to take up,” Haskings said.
“We have a few golfers and tennis players who play the sport, and ultimately, we want to meet the needs of our target markets and get them excited about the sport,” he said.