It's all a bit confusing, isn't it, all this pennants bowls stuff? The season has been going for a month now but it's still difficult trying to remember who is playing where, on what day, in what division and under what colour.
So let's get it right once and for all. The easiest one is the ladies who field three rinks on Tuesday mornings in Third Division Red. Then come the men on Thursday afternoons with three rinks in Second Division White, Fourth Division White and Fifth Division Red. And finally we have the men on Saturday afternoons in First Division Blue South (4 rinks), Third Division White (4 rinks) and Fifth Division Red (3 rinks).
Ah, now I've got it!
Although it is an 18 week season for all divisions, there is no doubt that the first month can set the scene for what is to come over the rest of the summer season. Reviewing the first four games of Hilton Park's seven teams (three on Saturdays, ladies on Tuesdays and three on Thursdays) shows a total of 10 wins and 18 losses so there is certainly room for improvement.
The club reached a new high last year with its Saturday teams winning promotion to the First Division, Third Division and Fifth Divisions but it is clear already that the going will be tough for those top two teams at least. First Division has a 1-3 win/loss record from the opening four games while Third Division has lost all of its four games, each by a score of 1-7.
Of course, during the winter months, there was plenty of talk about whether or not any new “First Division” bowlers would move to Hilton to play. Possible recruitment seemed to be left in the hands of star player Daniel Wood. However, not only was that not successful, Woody himself has ended up not playing for Hilton because he has moved out of the area.
“That was all really unfortunate so what we have is what we've got,” says men's captain Gary Saint, who has urged bowlers in those top two grades to keep battling away and trying to pick up points. “The aim is simple,” says Gary. “Let's try and get out of the bottom two spots in First Division Blue South and Third Division White and try to consolidate.”
Saturdays: The First Division side has performed admirably at home but has lost both away games 8-0, starting from the first week down at a very windy and unfriendly Safety Bay where the final shot total of 103-62 reflects the gulf between the sides on their surface. It was a bit closer at 96-63 in the round four loss at Thornlie when Kevin Willis' rink went down by only one shot.
In the round two home game against Rossmoyne, Gary Dodd's rink won 19-17 and Robbie Hunter's rink won 20-15 but losses by Craig Standley and Travis Simpson saw the balance tip Rossmoyne's way by 79-76.
It was even closer in round three at home to Mt Pleasant but this time it went Hilton's way to record our first win at 73-71. Amazingly, Craig Standley's rink had the only win by nine shots, while Gary Dodd drew and Travis Simpson lost by just one point. Let's hope for a few more wins like that.
As said earlier, the Third Division side is sitting at 0-4 from four games while the Division Five side is sitting at 3-1 with wins over Kardinya, East Fremantle and Rossmoyne and a defeat to Bullcreek. For various reasons, numbers were tight for round three and thanks go to Val Turner and Anne Mauri for helping out.
The first club tournament of the season was the mixed drawn fours competition which produced some interesting line-ups.
In the end, the final was won by a rink comprising Dave Van de Ven, Darren Mitchell, Chris McMahon and Robbie Hunter who won 24-20 against Mike De Luis, Fred Kuhnl, Richard Young and Gary Dodd. Well done.
Then, over two weekends in November, 20 bowlers took part in the men's handicap singles event. Again there were many matches before, in the semi-finals Joe Basic beat Craig Standley and Chris McMahon beat Gary Saint.
After a brief lunch break, Joe Basic went on to defeat Chris McMahon in a tight final.
Hilton Park's committee is arranging a meeting soon with Fremantle's Federal Member of Parliament, Josh Wilson, to discuss the best way of seeking grants for the club's next big project - converting A green to a synthetic surface with a cover over the top. “It's an ambitious plan and it will cost a lot of money,” says club president Ron Turner. “However, we hope at this meeting Josh Wilson can direct us in the proper direction when it comes to funding.”
With the ladies, the first game of the season has been their best so far with a win over Melville at home by 4.5 to 1.5. Sandra Watt's rink lost by four but Maria Alberti's rink shared their game and Elizabeth Mann's rink won comfortably to see Hilton home on the day 56-47. Unfortunately, the ladies have then lost three games in a row, 5-1, 6-0 and 5-1.
Whether we still see it as the more traditional Corporate Bowls or the more modern Community Bowls, the Wednesday night social tournament at Hilton has got off to a terrific start
One of the organizers, Scott Cargill, is happy to report that the first week saw numbers of around 90 out filling up two greens for a social roll-up under the lights. He is confident that there could be more teams joining up soon with the possibility that greater numbers will required the use of all three greens.
Of course, those numbers help to provide a fair bit of extra money over the bar which is always very welcome. Just as important, some of those community bowlers might find they enjoy the game enough to sign up as regular bowlers with the club.
Members might have noticed recently that the club is trying to fix up the former A green on the south side of the clubhouse.
The plan comes from former president Richard Young who said that the “green” - which many considered once was Hilton's best - was taken out of commission about 12 years ago when cut-backs were made.
The club retained the three greens which were all under lights and the one on the north side of the clubhouse then became the new A green.
Explaining his plan, 'Barney' Young said: “We have started to improve the quality of the grass again, watering it regularly and giving it a top dressing of sand. My plan is for kids to be able to run around and play on that grass on Fridays and Sundays and during club functions. Down the track, we may be able to install play equipment.”
The top side on Thursdays, Division Two White, made a great start to the season with 5-1 wins over both Dalkeith/ Nedlands and Safety Bay but then slipped to successive 6-0 defeats to Hollywood/Subiaco and Fremantle.
Division Four White were in table-topping form early on with a 6-0 win over Mt Pleasant, a 5-1 win over Cockburn and a 6-0 win over Claremont. But most recently, a 5-1 away loss to Fremantle in a hard-fought game saw Fremantle jump over Hilton into top spot on the ladder by just half a point. The Division Five side has recorded four successive 5-1 losses.
Unfortunately, the Melbourne Cup function at the club on the first Tuesday in November was not particularly well attended. However, for those who did turn up, it was an enjoyable social get-together and club president Ron Turner would like to thank organizers Doug McKay and his wife Nola for all their effort and enthusiasm.
Whether it be working behind the bar, paying accounts, handling correspondence, organising games, preparing lunches, gardening, painting or top dressing the greens, the Club is indebted to its members who continually pull together as a team to get the job done.
There are many opportunities at the club for volunteers to become involved and make a difference, so please do not hesitate to contact one of our committee members if you would like to help out and join a great team.