How life rolls at Cardinia Waters Bowls Club in Pakenham
Nearly half a century ago, when Alan Burkitt was 32 years old and took up lawn bowls he was told he was too young to roll. He kept bowling anyway, and at a sprightly 83 years of age he is still very keen on the game despite not playing as often as he used to. Cardinia Waters Bowls Club in Pakenham is a championship seven rink bowling green in walking distance of Alan and his wife Doreen’s home. While the Club proudly displays a number of Pennant wins, it is the ample social opportunities that keep members rolling.
A short history of Cardinia Waters Bowls Club
Cardinia Waters Bowls Club in Pakenham is home to an active and social community of local seniors. For a Club boasting four Pennant teams, Cardinia Waters Bowls Club is young – only a decade old. There isn’t a day of the week when there isn’t someone rolling on the turf.
The well designed green is square. This offers the fantastic choice of playing north-south orientation or east-west. This means play can be adjusted depending on the season and time of day. Night lighting means evening games are popular here too.
Run by an active Committee of Cardinia Waters Village residents, the Club is an enticing social hub for village residents who open their arms wide to new members and visitors.
A week in the life of Cardinia Waters bowls club
Right now, here is how a week at Cardinia Waters Bowls Club rolls (pardon the pun!):
- Monday night triples competition, leading into March 2017 finals.
- Pennant on Tuesdays
- Social bowls on Wednesday mornings
- Thursday evening bowls throughout summer
- Pennant on Saturdays.
And in-between the formal schedule, Alan shares that you’ll almost always find a group having a roll themselves.
The Club has won a few Pennants, with Pennant Shields and photos proudly displayed on a wall in the village’s billiards room. Each year attracts new Pennant players with four or five new members on board this year.
The Club takes pride in its performance in the Bowls Victoria Pennant Competition, but this is also a warm and welcoming social Bowls Club. Following a game, the bar in the village often fires up with conversation and laughter.
“I believe Bowls is fifty per cent social and fifty per cent competition,” Alan said.
“The Committee and I are always keen to get new people involved. Many of our players had never played before they moved into the village and now some are even representing us on our Pennant teams.”
To encourage new bowlers in, the Bowls Club succeeded in securing a Government grant for new bowls. When newcomers to the Club want to give bowls a go but are not yet ready to commit, a spare set of bowls is on hand. Alan reflected that most that do have a try, are then off buying their own set of bowls pretty swiftly!
The only challenge the Committee really faces in a retirement village of energetic seniors, is keeping up Pennant participation during holiday season.
“At certain times of the year it can get tricky to manage Pennant as people plan to go and travel in their caravans for a holiday. Often, one of the two are holidaying and wishing they were back on the Cardinia green!”
Cardinia Waters Village encourages Active Management
Being a resident of an RCA Village means having opportunities to be actively involved in the running of the village, including the running of the Bowls Club.
The Bowls Club Committee is elected every two years and there are seven members, all with active roles in the day to day running of the Club.
The Committee meets once a month officially, but also get together as needed throughout the year. Alan spoke highly of both past and current Committee members, reflecting on how efficient the members are and the challenges particularly in the heftier roles of being Secretary or President. At the same time, he reflected on how rewarding having an active role in retirement years, is.
Alan has been on the Committee from the very beginning. He is literally the face of the Club in that his friendly dial graces the Club’s billboard. He was Foundation President of the Club for three years and is now the Bowls Club’s Publicity Officer and on the Social Committee. His active involvement with the Club means that if he isn’t rolling on the green, he’s writing.
“I usually greet new residents with, ‘Hello, I’m Alan, do you play bowls?” Alan said.
Why Cardinia Waters Village is a great place to call home
Alan and Doreen moved in to Cardinia Waters Village in February 2009, and one of the first residents of Stage 2 of the village. They lived in Pakenham and decided to stop in and have a look when they saw Stage 2 being built.
“We went for it straight away. Mind you, we did get home and wonder what we’d done but we just love it. We’ve never regretted the decision,” Alan said.
With children and grandchildren spread throughout the Australia, the decision to stay local to Pakenham and all its conveniences, worked wonderfully for Alan and Doreen.
Alan first played Pennant in 1966, in the days when bowls was a summer sport only. He didn’t hesitate to get actively involved in the Cardinia Waters Bowls Club. It was evident throughout our conversation that he has been indeed a passionate bowler, and writer!
A former real estate agent, writing ad copy honed Alan’s writing prowess and journalistic reporting has been a constant throughout his life. As Publicity Officer for the Bowls Club, Alan writes regularly for The Pakenham Gazette and the Cardinia Waters Village publication, Cardi Capers weekly with Pennant updates and bowls notes.
He and Doreen stay active and make the most of the fantastic facilities and social opportunities they have at their doorstep, at their choosing.
Friday night at the village is Happy Hour, and Alan shared that they always have a great time with the village often bringing in entertainers to encourage dancing, or singing.
“We have marvellous friends here. While many are really close friends, we see each other now and then, as it suits us. We’re not on each others’ doorsteps, but we know we’re only a phone call away.”
To find out more about Cardinia Waters Village and Cardinia Waters Bowls Club:
Visit the Cardinia Waters Village website