Tailem Bend bowlers prove theirs is a star club

The town's bowling club has been nominated for a state award thanks in part to an injection of youthful energy.

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It is fair to say that things are on a roll at Tailem Bend Bowling Club.

The club has been named as finalist for Bowls SA’s club of the year award, the only rural nominee of the six finalists.

The club was encouraged to apply for the award by Bowls SA following their progression through the Starclub program.

Club president Sam Shepherd said that involvement with the program had not only led to the award nomination, but had opened the doors to grants.

“We’ve been successful in getting three or four grants recently, which came from the Starclub program highlighting how much work we’d done at the club,” Shepherd said.

“From that, they - Bowls SA - said ‘you should put a nomination in, this is incredible’.”

Shepard, who began with the club as a 15-year-old more than 30 years ago, said just being nominated was all the recognition the club needed.

“That’s the motivation to say ‘wow, we’re heading in the right direction’.”

He said the most rewarding part of the last 12 months had been the youthful energy that had come into the club.

“We’ve had a number of teenage girls join the club - and quite a few other younger bowlers - and that creates a succession plan and a viable future for the sport,” he said.

“It creates a new energy and enthusiasm for people that want to get involved.

“You notice going up to the club that all the footpaths have been weeded.

“People don’t have to be asked; the new energy means people want to do a bit more.”

The state awards for Bowls SA have been postponed due to COVID-19, with winners to be announced when members are able to gather together.

Starclubs boost Tailem Bend’s community

Local Starclub officer Marc Maddaford said that clubs like Tailem Bend Bowling Club which worked through the Starclub program demonstrated their commitment to ensuring their club was the best it could be.

“It tells the whole wider community that their club can embrace inclusiveness, new and existing membership, and look after their volunteers,” he said.

He said TBBC, which had reached the highest level of the Starclub program as a “recognised” club, had been nothing short of outstanding.

“They have all their policies and procedures, they’re welcoming and safe for all, and their grant chances increase,” Maddaford says.

“Around 85 per cent of Office for Recreation, Sport and Racing grants go to clubs who are working through the Starclub program.”

The bowling club is not alone.

Tailem Bend’s football, cricket and netball clubs have all also acheived “recognised” status.

This, said Maddaford, represented a community that worked together and placed importance on its club members and volunteers.

“It’s especially important now for small country towns that have had issues in the past with mental health,” he says.

“To have four recognised Starclubs working together in one area can certainly help health outcomes and club cultures.”

Photo: Tailem Bend Bowling Club/Facebook.