Dear Members,

It is with many mixed emotions that I review the past 12 months from July 2019 to June 2020.

Whilst for 8 months of this period members had a most enjoyable club life, but the last 4 months have been nothing short of turbulent — with all our activities and club tournaments in total disarray since COVID 19! In a situation unprecedented, we as a Club had to virtually forget about playing our favourite sport. For obvious reasons, all regular bowling activities had to be suspended and with this, the Zone 9 Pennant season was also called off.

Our Club, until February, had seen more interest from potential new members, and we were moderately successful in this regard. In fact, an overall improvement of attendance at the Club was very promising, until we were stopped in our tracks by the virus.

On the Membership front we had useful increased inquiry following the opening of the club to the broader Balgowlah Heights community and together with the new “Carly Mays Kitchen”, now in full operation, it is anticipated that bowling will become a more dominant feature at the club.

Whilst focusing on matters of Membership, the Board and Management Committee decided to reduce annual membership costs. The new annual cost to be a full member has dropped dramatically from $315 to just $190 (including Zone fees). This decision was well received, and members were quick to positively respond. It is hoped that this will also encourage a further increase in membership in the coming years.

Business Bowls held twice a year (February & November) continued to be an outstanding success, both socially and financially – this year we must thank Derek Mcintosh who very kindly volunteered to take over the responsibility of running this event. Well done Derek — an excellent first up

I do also wish to acknowledge John Kiely, who was the mastermind in conceptualising this event and his foresight to launch this to become a feature on the Bowls calendar in the Seaforth/Balgowlah/Manly area. To John and his wife Lindsey, who was a wonderful help on every bowls day “Thank you both so very much for the past 10 years of dedicated work.”

Due to inclement weather and a series of other issues we did not hold any “Open Days”.

Presentation Day, was, as usual, the highlight of the year when members and special guests alike had the opportunity to applaud the various Champions and runners up of the Club’s prestigious Tournaments. In this year’s events we were delighted to see even more new names on the winners and runner up list.

Of particular note were the winners of the BBC Pairs, Paul Terry and Sean Semler. They went on to be crowned winners of the Zone 9 President’s Reserve Pairs. This put them in the State finals, where they won 2 out of 3 round-robin matches and drew in the other — to agonizingly miss the Semi Finals.

Sean, our Bowler of the Year and Singles Champion, was selected to represent Zone 9 in the State Interzone Championships and they went on to win the Finals. A wonderful achievement by both Sean and Paul who ensured that Balgowlah Bowling Club was indeed a home of Champions!

Community activities. We continued our association with Balgowlah Boys High to make Bowls an interesting option for outdoor sports. We will continue to encourage this activity and hope this will form part of their regular outdoor activities.

Our generous Sponsors continue to provide a vital financial base from which we project all our special events for the year. Firstly, we thank our former major sponsor L J Hooker, Seaforth for being with our Club for these past years. Their contributions and support are greatly appreciated.

This coming year we are delighted to have on board our new #1 sponsors Ray White Real Estate Seaforth together with HP Constructions. We look forward to working with them for many years to come. Additionally, we are delighted to have the continued generous sponsorship of Marston Retirement Living of Beacon Hill. We extend these thanks to current sponsors BCIB Insurance, Toni El Haddad of Balgowlah Heights Pharmacy and Balgowlah Automotive. We now also warmly welcome our new sponsors, Hamer & Hamer (Solicitors) and Evo Tile+Stone. Finally, Anne Hutchison who very kindly and generously sponsors our Presentation Day.

Club Performance on the field In last year’s Pennants we met strong opposition on the greens to make the final four. Elevated to Grade 5 this year, we lost our first two matches away, before beating Harbord at home, the Series then cancelled, as was the In Mid- Week Triples. Last year we just missed out on a place in the finals. Congratulations to all our players, who gave of their best at all times.

Our special thanks to the Selectors who as usual had a challenging time.

Coaches. Once again, a massive vote of thanks to Bob Tuckerman. Our Head Coach devotes nearly every Friday (despite illness and injury), to enthusiastically teach all those who turn up to benefit from his special lessons. Our thanks to other coaches, who also by appointment, take time to tutor players whenever requested.

Our Greens. How wonderful to finally have our very first new TIFDWARF GREEN. To produce this beautiful final product in extremely trying weather conditions speaks very highly of our specialist greenkeepers – Paul and Harry Somers. Their dedication and personal care to achieve this brilliant
result whilst maintaining Green No 3 for extended play time was indeed outstanding.

Volunteers. As in any Social Club with limited financial resources, we cannot succeed without the fantastic assistance of our Volunteers. There are many unsung heroes who look after the Gardens, Raffle Tickets, Cashiers, Duty Officers, Barmen, Umpires. There are also many other general helpers
who work hard behind the scenes — particularly with setting up the “Fig Musical” and other Club events which require major physical work to set-up, re-arrange and hire out our hall etc.

A special debt of gratitude to our “life blood” the marvellous group of Bowls Secretaries. You turn up as rostered as per your scheduled volunteered day at 9.30am every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday — week after week. It is no easy task to put teams together — we have the pleasure of playing
after it has all been planned by you. We could not have a Club Bowls day without your hard work.

I do also need to specially thank Peter Tonkes our Bowls Committee’s Hon Secretary. Peter as usual works enthusiastically and supported all of us with his hard work and dedication to duties.

Finally, I can only succeed in my role as President because I have a great team working with me. My sincere thanks to all members of the Bowls/Management Committee and Vice Presidents who assisted me throughout the year — particularly when I was absent from the club. Peter Fishburn, despite his workload as Chairman was outstanding in his contributions to our success.

Thank you, Members, for granting me this prestigious honour of being your President for the past five years. Please accept my apologies at being away for an extended period due to ill health. Nevertheless, I sincerely trust I have lived up to your expectations.

As I have renominated for this office, I look forward to once again serving you to the best of my ability. I have really enjoyed my role and look forward to engaging with each and every one of you be it at Bowls and/or socially in the year ahead.

David Bartholomeusz