IN YOUR HANDS: Emerald Bowls Club's Mark Gallagher.
IN YOUR HANDS: Emerald Bowls Club's Mark Gallagher. Kristen Booth

Help to keep doors open

THE plan is to bowl the community over with a renewed - or for first-time players a new - love of bowls, and in the process rescue the much-loved Emerald Bowls Club from financial crisis.

Mark Gallagher, who is on the board and the committee for the Emerald Bowls Club, said this week the period between Christmas and Easter was traditionally very quiet and, in an effort to bolster interest in the club and the sport, a special inaugural tournament was being held on Saturday, December 15.

He said 20 teams of three players had already registered to play in the competition, which could cater for up to 28 teams. He was hoping the one-day event, to be held from 10am-8.30pm, would raise $10,000.

Each team pays $300 to enter and the prizemoney is drawn from the entry fees.

"We'd be happy to get 28 teams but with 20 we'll break even.”

Five games will be played throughout the day, interspersed with food breaks including morning coffee, scones, cakes and pikelets, a lunch of salads and cold meats, and a barbecue after the fourth game.

Bowlers already confirmed for the day include local champion Greg Pullen, Ray Harnsworth from Longreach and John Sendon from Rockhampton.

"And if the public want to come and watch, they are more than welcome. There will be a full bar and plenty of food.”

Mr Gallagher said local businesses had donated $4000 to the club in sponsorship, including $1500 each from Sojitz Mines and Brumby's Bakery.

"I feel ecstatic and overwhelmed that they've done that. We're not the only ones struggling in town and it blew me away to get two major sponsors as well as some other minor sponsors.”

Mr Gallagher said regular Sunday competition days would kick off again in the new year.

"It's not only a fun sport, it's one you can win a few dollars at.

"It's a community club and Emerald's a big enough town that you really need the bowling club.”

He said the club had about 500 social members and 70 bowling members, as well as 20 volunteer staff who helped keep the club afloat with their goodwill and community spirit.

He said he would also be resuming free Saturday morning coaching sessions from 10am for children older than 10.

"We're also going to have a membership drive in the new year.

"Bowling is a non-body contact sport and yet it's still a sport. It's something that you don't realise how involved the sport is until you start playing.”

Anyone interested in entering a team in next week's tournament or taking part in Saturday lessons can phone Mark Gallagher on 0456810599.

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