No holding back Toogoolawah bowlers after greens reopen
Bowlers in Toogoolawah have resumed their favourite social activity with the easing of coronavirus restrictions.
After months stuck at home, players such as Mike Tilley are revelling in the company of friends – albeit it at a slight distance.
Toogoolawah Bowls Club Inc is among country clubs that have reopened for roll-up-only sessions.
The clubs are the social glue for many country people of “mature age”, president Keith McWhirter said.
“It was terrible during the shutdown because quite a few of our members are single, having lost their husbands or wives, and they love the social aspect,” McWhirter said.
“They missed not being able to sit together and chat or have a cuppa tea and bickie, and it’s good exercise for everybody.”
Coronavirus restrictions allow up to 20 players at the clubhouse but social distancing rules limit the number of people on the green at one time.
Only every second rink can be used and only four players per rink – and no competitions or scoring.
Effectively, players can do only the equivalent of a practice session with friends.
Gathering restrictions are also preventing clubs’ monthly “Pub Days” when members travel to adjoining towns for a game and drinks.
McWhirter said the Pub Days and the annual carnival normally held in October were important revenue raisers clubs would have to live without for the time being.
In the meantime, locals such as Tilley are happy to be healthy and back to bowls at least twice a week.
Tilley had lung cancer 18 months ago and found bowls the best form of fitness with his reduced breathing capacity.
He said he was careful but not worried enough about coronavirus to stay at home any longer.
“I’m 80 and bowls is where I get my exercise. If I’m not doing that I can walk a bit but getting back to bowls was good for me, and good for the social aspect because I live alone,” he said.
“It’s wonderful to be able to get back.”
Articles contributed today by Kat Donaghey were supported by the Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism and Ideas.