Bowling club still rolling after 90 years

The team responsible for organising the Cansa fund-raiser, from left, are Mike von Maltitz (kneeling), Cedar Ryan, Nic de Villiers, Nicole Kotze Patty Searle and Ian Forgan.

The Fish Hoek Bowling Club celebrates its 90th anniversary this year.

The club was established in 1931 and despite the harsh lockdown conditions, the club “is doing well”, according to club president Ian Forgan.

The Fish Hoek Bowling Club is affiliated to Western Province and SA Bowls, and, on top of competitive events, social events have become an institution with the club. The public can join as social members and enjoy a game of bowls and a braai on a Friday night.

In 2017, the club merged with the False Bay Croquet Club and now offers bowls and croquet.

Bowls is much more than “old man’s marbles”, says Mr Forgan.

And while the club is a sporting facility it is also a multi-faceted club with core values that include social responsibility and serving the people of the deep south.

In September, the club brought in R14 000 in a fund-raiser for the Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA).

Club secretary Patty Searle said it was a “fantastic day.” The women’s team dressed in pink and the men’s team in blue. “Much fun was had by all,” she said.

Cansa ambassador Nicole Kotze said the fund-raiser said it had been great fun to connect with the club members.

“On behalf of Cansa, we wish to thank the club for raising funds to help us continue to sustain the valuable services we provide to those whose lives have been affected by cancer,” she said.

In the past few years, other events included raising funds for the Care Company, which delivers home-based care for the elderly across the Western Cape; helping the Nomads Bowling Club raise funds for the underprivileged; and hosting a bowls day for the Western Province Blind Bowlers’ Association.

Jonathan Mills, founder of the Care Company, said the Fish Hoek Bowling Club had been a long-standing friend of the Care Company and were “fantastic” hosts for the annual bowls-for-a- bus fund-raiser events.

“Despite lockdown putting an end to the events, we were still able to purchase an old but well looked-after kombi for the elderly in Masiphumelele,” he said.

The club also serves as the headquarters for the Fish Hoek Lions Club and hosts a Bible-study group every Thursday morning.

“While the Covid-19 pandemic has put us on the back foot, we will continue to work hard to support our community,” Mr Forgan said.

The clubhouse, as it stands today, was opened in 1949. Before that, the club shared the Recreation Hall, later to be known as the MOTH Hall, with other sporting bodies.

In 1933, membership started picking up and at the annual general meeting in August 1933 it was noted that membership had increased from the original 25 men and 12 women to 38 men and 23 women. At the next annual general meeting, held in August 1934, it was noted that membership had again increased to 47 men and 30 women.

By January 1949, an agreement had been reached between the municipality and the club about the new clubhouse, and tenders were called for the work.

In 1977, the club adopted a new constitution.

Previously, Mr Forgan said, the business of men’s and women’s bowls had been run independently.

The new constitution focussed on promoting and playing bowls without discrimination on the grounds of gender, race, religion, or political affiliation.

“We still stick by these rules. Anyone is welcome at our club,” Mr Forgan said.

For more information about the club or to join as a social or full-playing member, email Ms Searle at patty.searle@gmail.com

The women’s team dressed in pink.
The men’s team dressed in blue.
Croquet players Edwina Lovel and Zoë Howarth discussing the game.