Article 9 - Sponsorship

IT MUST BE AUSTRALIA ! & SPONSORSHIP - World Bowls May 1998

Editors comments - Drakes Pride Director Peter Clare visited Australia in February and while there made some interesting observations on bowling 'down under'.

It's February, the temperature is due to peak at 36°C, the greenkeepers are flooding the Greens, with water, each evening to keep the speed in check - I must be in Australia.

I was visiting the Drakes Pride Australian Agent and distributors and also, perhaps, more importantly the bowlers themselves. So I was able to attend the First Test between England and Australia at the Merrylands Bowls Club in the Parramatta District of Sydney. This is the Club that the Jack High tournament was held in 1997, for the last time.

What I, even as a supporter of the English team, could not quite understand was why the Australians had chosen to give away their 'Home' advantage by playing indoors on carpet. Surely most other sporting fixtures the Home side looks to gain a little help from local knowledge and playing conditions. Yet the indoor carpet at Merrylands was chosen for the series so giving if anything an advantage to the Visitors.

Steve Glasson and Kelvin Kerkow have some knowledge of playing on carpet, but Mark Jacobsen has very little and yet they were playing the English guys who had come over from the Indoor season back in the U.K. Even Tony Alcock when interviewed made mention of the fact that the England team were at home on the carpet. This should not detract in anyway from the England team who played very well and were pushed hard by the Australian team.

Perhaps the venue choice was down to the strength of the T.V. company who recorded the series and the sponsors involved with the event. From the Australian perspective they must have been disappointed as England took the series 3 - 1, Steve Glasson in his singles game at least stopped the Series being a complete 'tin hat' and saved some pride for the Australians. Given his singles record he must be pushing the selectors for a Commonwealth Games spot. He of course plays with Drakes pride, so perhaps I am biassed!! (note both Steve Glasson and Kelvin Kerkow became prominent players whilst using Drakes Pride bowls)

It was pleasing that the T.V. was there and that they will also record the Welsh and Northern Ireland teams when they play their matches of the International Series. The Australians did slip up by using the wrong flag for the England team, the used the Union Flag - will the Welsh  and N. Ireland teams accept the Union Flag when they visit I wonder!!?

All you keen bowlers who have Sky have, I am sure, been watching the Test series. The T.V. Companies all examine their ratings to assess whether they have enough viewers to attract the advertisers, so I hope all who could watch did so. It will be no use complaining that the media shows no interest in bowls and that it is difficult to find sponsors for the game if those who could watch did not turn on to watch.

Those who did watch the Series would have, I am sure, noticed the colourful 'team shirts' worn by the Australians, which makes it much easier for the 'non-bowling' spectator to follow the action -  this must be good for the sport.

The number of actual spectators was also encouragingly good apart from the evening matches when the numbers dropped dramatically. Perhaps the moves in Australia to follow New Zealand with one organisation to control both the Men's and Ladies' game will help. As I strongly believe, based on experience of attending both Commonwealth and Pacific tournaments that where both men and ladies play at the one venue during the one tournament it has much more spectator appeal. With better spectator numbers this can be used to attract sponsors and higher sponsorship monies.

Some form of additional attraction is required back in the UK - where on my return the Home Internationals (Mens) were being played and yet it was only in a few National Newspapers that any articles or reports could be found. Given a cricket test or Triple Crown rugby, then the papers would be full.(note since this time even the Daily Telegraph has dropped its reports and now it seems bowls only gets into local papers when a 'local bowler' has done well). Perhaps that is enough of a 'political paragraph in support of bringing together the different associations in each of the Home Countries, bring both economy to them and make the tournaments more attractive to both spectators and sponsors.

In closing I should mention that the Drakes Pride Australian agent has moved  from Adelaide to of all places Clare Valley and lives just outside the small town of Clare. So it was quite a strange experience to see my surname up on so many buildings.

I played bowls at the Clare Bowling Club and allowed the Australian to beat me 21-7. I must admit that it took some four ends before I was able to keep my bowls on the rink. It must have been my Crown green bowls delivery that was too strong on a 17 sec. Green. Clare Valley has some 25 or more wineries, so perhaps that also could explain the problem of my game!!


©Peter Clare 1998-2009 - ©E.A. Clare & Son Ltd 2013. This article can only be reproduced in part or whole with the permission of E. A. Clare & Son Ltd.