COBOURG LAWN BOWLING CLUB – READY TO ROLL AGAIN
If you have walked through Victoria Park recently you will probably have seen the grass being cut at the Cobourg Lawn Bowling Club; or people taking down the shutters from the windows; you may even have spotted a few people getting in some early season practice. It can only signify one thing – summer is on its way and the lawn bowlers will once again be a common sight in Victoria Park as they have been since 1907. The predecessor to this newspaper reported in April 1907 that 75 bowlers had met to form the club and a decision was made to locate the club in Victoria Park. That report described lawn bowling as “the most sociable sport in the world”; a description which can still be applied today albeit with a friendly sense of competition.
Next weekend members will get together for the annual clean-up of the club and grounds in preparation for the opening on May 14th. The 2016 President, Steve Haslam, hopes that the club can build on the success of the last few seasons in increasing membership and providing the opportunity for people of Cobourg and the surrounding area to experience the sport. Lawn bowling is a sport that can be enjoyed by all ages. Last year the club had just over 100 members aged from 8 to over 90. It is a sport that can be played at any age and it is never too late to take up the game. The season runs from May to September and the club holds games during the day and in the evenings so there are times to bowl that meet all needs. The level of competition also varies. Club events - known as jitneys - are the staple of the club and are friendly competitions held five times a week. The club also holds a number of tournaments during the season solely for club members which are slightly more competitive but still basically fun events. Then there are Open tournaments which are open to any bowler affiliated to the Ontario Lawn Bowls Association. There really is something for everyone from the social bowler to those who wish to play more competitively.
In the early weeks of the season the club will be holding an open house (on May 21st); providing free introductory lessons (every Wednesday evening in June); and introducing youngsters to the sport through a programme for schools.
Another early season event takes place on May 19th when the club will host the District 12 play downs for the Ontario Senior (+55) Games. There are mixed doubles and triples competitions and the winners will go forward to the Ontario games in Midland.
One of the highlights of the forthcoming season will be on June 25th and 26th when the club will host the Ontario Junior (Under 18) Championships. In 2015 Ben van Steijn of the Cobourg club won the boys gold medal in this event and his sister Baylee won silver. Ben is excited to be defending his title on his home greens especially since this is his final year as a junior. This should be an excellent weekend of lawn bowling showcasing Ontario’s best juniors.
Baylee van Steijn’s fourth place finish at the Canadian Nationals in 2015 qualified her for the Canadian junior development squad and later this month she will be going to Vancouver to attend the 2016 National Training Camp alongside the Canadian National and senior development squads. This is a great learning opportunity for her and another big step in the development of her bowling career.
The Cobourg club is one of 228 clubs in Canada all of whom have coaches and members ready to get people started on this wonderful summer sport. And what makes Cobourg one of the best of those 228 clubs is the wonderful location in Victoria Park – what better place to spend time this summer? The club encourages the people of Cobourg to come out and “Give it a Try”.