Malvern Standard, Saturday 20 January 1912
Melbourne Club’s Electric Light Tournament.
During the past week bowling tournaments by night have been in progress at the Melbourne Club’s green inWindsor. In other words they are known as the electric light tournaments as, of course, artificial light of some sort is needed to carry on bowling by night. Someone was heard to inquire why gas wasn’t used instead of electricity, and a wag replied, “Oh, bowlers always use their own gas when they are at play” Perhaps that was only a weak attempt at a joke, and no more notice need be taken of it. Bowling, they say, is a game that infatuates one; and once its influence is felt, it is hard to shake off. This is as it should be, because, to the onlooker, the game is so exhilarating, and calls for such steady nerves and clear headedness in its devotees, that it cannot fail to prove beneficial. The aim of bowls is said to be of ancient English origin, having first been played (according to the memory of the-oldest bowler) from the 12th century. It is said by some people, who don’t know the game ‘rom shinty’, that bowling is an “old man’s game.” Is it? A visit to any green would soon dispel such an illusion, for there you see mere striplings of humanity, lean of flesh as well as young in years some of them, battling with or against men who are on the verge of thinking about showing the sere and yellow Irel. But, really, to glance at the players on the green the naked eye hardly discerns an old ‘un amongst them. They all look so young, they dress young, they talk young. They display the excitement and enthusiasm of youth, and they travel backwards and forwards on the green with the nimbleness of two year-olds.
Bowling is a game that requires a sure eye and steady aim. Some of the bowlers evidently understand their bowls as if they (the bowl) were human beings. If the bowlers don’t actually talk to their bowls, the bowls seem to thoroughly understand the missions upon which they are dispatched. There are a lot of things at times which a bowler should or should not do. He must not bowl too long, and he must not bowl too short. If he does either his reputation as a bowler goes down with a bang. If he bowls too narrow, the width of his mind is measured in proportion. If he bowls too wide, it is immediately said of him that he won’t be happy till he gets the earth. And so it goes on. A bowler needs to be a man of many parts.
To the ordinary football barracker bowling seems as slow as snails. The reason for this, perhaps, is that bowling is too brainy for the average football barracker. Another thing is that the football barracker always has one eye closed. This is not allowed at bowling.
Amongst those at the Melbourne Club’s electric light tournament was M T “Bob” Brooks. Mr Brooks told a story to illustrate the great pitch of excitement to which a game of bowls may be brought. Some years ago at Ballarat, Dr Cussen and Mr H. J. Popjoy were playing off for the premiership, and Mr Popjoy, after an exciting game, won by the narrowest possible margin. The enthusiasm of the bowlers who were gathered round knew no bounds. They lifted Mr Popjoy shoulder high, and in so doing they held him in a skew whiff position, with the result that a number of lose sovereigns that were in Mr Popjoy’s pocket fell to the ground in a continuous stream. Mr Popjoy called out to the crowd that he was losing his money, but the cheering crowd didn’t hear him, and sovereigns continued to rain from his pocket. In fact, so great was the enthusiasm, and so loud and long the cheering, that some of the onlookers who were present evidently thought that Mr Popjoy was making a free distribution of sovereigns in honor of his magnificent victory-at least, Mr Popjoy didn’t get all his sovereigns back ! Who will say that bowling isn’t an interesting game after that ?
TheWindsorgreen during the progress of the electric light tournament has presented an animated scene. There has been some very good play shown, and the cheers, hear-hears, hand-clapping and “Well dones ” have been heard far and wide. The green was in capital order, and the club has every reason to feel pleased at the successful manner in which everything has been carried out.
Mr Frank Dunham, the club’s secretary, has had a busy time of it looking after general details, and, as usual, under his management nothing was left undone that would meet the requirements, wishes and com forts of the visiting bowlers.
The tournament will continue during the next two or three weeks.