Bowls: Robbo's a City Oval man now

MOVING from Ballarat Memorial Sports to City Oval Bowling Club.

It might be the Ballarat District Bowls Division equivalent of leaving Collingwood to join Carlton.

Not that Ian Robinson cares much for Collingwood or Carlton.

He is a Richmond supporter after all.

Robinson concedes the BMS versus City Oval rivalry is one of the most intense and spirited in the BDBD, but says he has considerable affection for both clubs.

“They are arch rivals, mainly because they always seem to be in the same division and meet in a lot of grand finals,” Robbo says. 

“City Oval is my club now, obviously, but I still have a soft spot for BMS for sure.”

Robinson started bowling with the old Serviceman’s Bowling Club nine years ago.

His timing was interesting because, less than a year later, the club merged with Ballarat City to form BMS.

The 58-year-old describes himself as lucky enough to have played in BMS’s first premiership side as a leader in division three. Coincidently enough, that grand final victory was against City Oval.

Robinson was a committee member at BMS when the club decided to move from its home near Lake Wendouree out to the growing area of Alfredton.

While that move is the reason he decided to look for a new club four years ago, Robinson still backs the club’s shift as the right thing to do.

“It was the best move for them and for bowls in Ballarat,” Robinson says.

“I live near the lake here so the move to Alfredton is no good for me. 

“I chose City Oval because I saw it as having a similar culture to Serviceman’s, people of great character that, as a collective unit, were striving to make a great club greater.

“I’ve enjoyed learning from and working with people like Charlie Bolte, Ron Coxall, Dorothy and Joe Arnold, John Peddlesden, Jack Vinnicombe, even ‘Coutta’ and ‘Gladdie’, under the chairmanship of Lloyd Sims.

“I also thought, if I was going to play bowls, why not play at the most picturesque of all bowls clubs in Ballarat? When you walk into City Oval to play, the old clubhouse and scenery are magnificent.”

Robbo’s move to the Hawks paid dividends immediately, when he won another premiership in division three, playing third to Bolte.

Robinson is on the City Oval match committee, and also has a hand in organising the club’s social bowls, corporate bowls, tradies bowls and the increasingly popular barefoot bowls. 

He says the club’s new synthetic green, in addition to the grass greens prepared by Mark Thurman, has allowed it to host competitions all year round.

As for his own game, Robinson has improved over the journey and now skips for the Hawks in division two.

gavin.mcgrath@thecourier.com.au

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