Federation rules introduced to Darwin’s Aussie bowlers

Bob and Carol Warters meet the Darwin bowlers.

KETTON Bowls Club – affiliated to the Northants Bowling Federation and its parent body, the EBF – has established a new link with northern Australian bowlers in Darwin who who have become fascinated with the subtle changes of rules the Federation promotes.

On a recent visit, to the remote Northern Territory club, Ketton captain and the NBF’s press officer Bob Warters presented the Darwin Bowls & Social Club’s president Peter de Greenlaw with a framed plaque documenting ‘Federation Rules in a Nutshell’ and how they differ from Aussie laws of the game in at least 14 instances.

Said Bob: “The club’s members were very warm in their welcome and particularly intrigued by the differences in the rules Federation bowlers play to in England. We suggested they might introduce some into a fun tournament.

“They were particularly fascinated by the rule that allows players to change positions in a rink at any time during a match. Like us Brits, the Aussies are also incredibly competitive and they appreciate anything that might give them a tactical advantage.”

But the visit, fixed six months in advance and tied in to Bob’s 70th birthday celebratory cruise he took with his wife Carol from Sydney to Singapore, nearly had to be abandoned. A Category Two cyclone swept through the city only hours before, uprooting hundreds of mature trees and damaging electricity and water connections to thousands of homes in this 130,000 population capital of Northern Territory.

“The devastation was incredible with huge fallen trees blocking roads, crushing parked cars and even damaging the parliament and other government buildings, ” said Bob.

“But bowls goes on! And the club members rallied round and were out at dawn clearing debris from their two 7-rink synthetic surface greens, one of which is covered by £500,000 canopy constructed two years ago to allow bowlers some protection from thunderstorms and high temperatures and humidity which are a feature of the region.”

Bob and Carol, who also serve on the management committee of Stamford IBC, took time adapting to the sweltering 85 degree heat and humidity and the synthetic surface, ironically imported from Lincolnshire.

“It features a grid at both ends enabling upto six different settings for each rink to maintain even wear and tear while offering subtle differences in the way each setting plays, “Bob explained.

“The grids also make it much easier to set the jack and judge distances when measuring, saving valuable time. The pace is similar to Peterborough indoor but with a little extra finish as the bias finally takes effect.”

The pair, who also visited Australia’s most northerly club on Thursday Island, agreed to keep in regular touch with the Darwin club which has over 200 members – many of them ex-pats who have settled from the UK – and promised to extend its own hospitality should any of them be visiting the UK and wish to try Federation bowls under our own unique laws – and somewhat cooler conditions.

The Darwin president Peter de Greenlaw receives the Federation rules document

The impressive Darwin greens, one of which is covered

The club has more than 200 members

Bob tries the Darwin surface – fortunately the dress code is pretty relaxed!