Wanted: more bowls players

Three of the city’s bowling clubs, Railton, Bulawayo City Bowling and Parkview Bowling Club, are all in a sorry state with the greens having disappeared. Railton Club, owned by the National Railways of Zimbabwe has been taken over by long grass, and the club house is now being used for selling sadza.

Braai stands on the greens at Bulawayo City Bowling Club.
Braai stands on the greens at Bulawayo City Bowling Club.

The situation is also bad at the Bulawayo City Bowling Club, which used to be ranked as one of the best greens in Africa.

“Since Bulawayo City Bowling was bought by a local businessman several years ago, the greens have disappeared and the club house is now used for selling beer. This really pains my heart because the greens used to be well maintained,” said Inos Mutongwizo, one of the only few black bowlers in the city.

The chairperson of the Matabeleland Bowling Association, Denis Streak said bowling greens were very expensive to maintain. “You need specialised lawn machines, special fertiliser and lots of water,” said Streak, who owns Good Hope Bowling Club in Inyathi. His club used to be patronised by commercial farmers before the land invasions. The association is now encouraging locals, especially youngsters, to take up the sport.

“The game itself is not expensive to play, and my association is prepared to assist individuals or organisations willing to participate,” said Streak, adding that the game was simple, yet vibrant, dynamic and exciting, suitable for young and old alike, the physically fit or physically challenged.

Whilst bowls has its roots on grass played outdoors, use of synthetic surfaces is rapidly increasing, both outdoors and indoors. Facilities may be specially constructed or transportable mats used both outdoors and indoors.

Bowls can provide you with open air exercise, comradeship, improved mental and physical facilities. Standard competitions normally last around three hours per match, but some can be shorter.

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