A photo from a social darts day held four weeks ago at Croydon. PHOTO: supplied

Croydon not just a home for bowls

by marketing

The Croydon Bowling Club has become not only the home for lawn bowls in its local area, but also darts as well.

In a bid for more financial stability, the club decided to look for new revenue streams and through darts, they are now home to various associations and groups.

Club president Shane Neal said his club is set to be hosting various levels of darts competitions four out of seven days a week from February next year.

“We started four or five years ago and were joint winners of the Bowls SA Innovation Award in 2016/17 with Novar Gardens, where they introduced petanque,” he said.

“We have been having one or two darts teams operating out of our venue for that four or five year period.

“Earlier this year, the Deaf Darts Association, who have been playing at Modbury, approached us about moving their home ground to Croydon and we were more than happy to facilitate that move.

“They have about 12 players and they all became social members of our club and they now play at Croydon on Wednesday nights.

“Then the current Ladies Darts Association, who were operating out of a place called the Hope Inn, which has since been sold, were looking for a new home and they knocked on our door and as of February next year, they will be playing all of their games at Croydon on Tuesday nights.

“Because of COVID, a lot of hotels have stopped allowing darts, because you can’t stand and have a drink inside.

“So, one of the major darts associations approached us to play some social darts at our location on Sunday afternoons.

“We started that back in about August, around when COVID restrictions were lifted.

“Basically, every Sunday afternoon we currently have social darts operating at the club, unless it is hired for a private function.

“Now an organisation called S.A.D.A (South Australian Darts Association), which is one of the other major darts organisations, have approached us to play their matches at our club on Mondays.”

Shane said having the extra income 12 months of the year was a major boost for the club.

“The beauty of that is the fact it is a 12 months of the year function, compared to bowls, which sees pennant season run until March, which is just six months of the year,” he said.

“Your bills don’t stop just because there is no bowls, you still have water bills, council rate sand electricity just to name a few.

“This will help cover a lot of those costs when there is no bowls being played, because with our greens, we can’t play in winter.

“We do have the ability to play indoor bowls, but you don’t get much of an income from 12 people playing indoor bowls, compared to 30 or so people playing outdoor bowls.

“Like a lot of other clubs, we applied for a sports grant back in about April, which we were approved for.

“We are going to put that towards installing new dartboards and dartboard cabinets.

“This gives us the ability to showcase the entire club and use one entire wall to allow all these players to play comfortably.”

Shane urged other clubs to explore possible extra sources of revenue.

“Other than clubs that have got large membership, and those who are able to play 12 months of the year, I think there is no way smaller clubs like us, who only have 30 registered bowlers, can survive with just summer pennant bowls,” he said.

“Our fixed cost for just doing nothing is just over $20,000, and we don’t generate that amount from membership and the nine home games we get on Saturdays and nine we get on Wednesdays.

“You add all that up across the bar, that doesn’t cover the $20,000 fixed costs you’ve got, you have got to find other revenue streams to be able to survive.

“There are only two reasons that a bowling club fails, either you don’t have enough bowlers, or you don’t have the finances to afford to pay the bills.

“Hopefully with the darts that will tick off one of the issues for us, then it is a matter of trying to make sure we continue to have at least three teams playing out of our club to survive long term.”