Bowling club celebrates 100 years

The Camps Bay Bowling Club on its opening in 1920.

The Camps Bay Bowling Club is gearing up to celebrate its centenary later this year.

But don’t let its name deceive you. It offers not only bowling but also activities such as dancing, karate and gym classes for youngsters, a venue for community functions, a fundraising centre, and braai and wedding venues for the members of the community.

While the club was established in 1920, it was in 1918 that work first began on the greens and the first sods were laid, said Michael Breakey, who has been a member for about 12 years.

“We have thus decided to start our centenary celebrations from 2018 (commemorating the start of the greens being laid) and through to 2020, we will be holding functions throughout this time,” he said.

Committee member Russel Sieff added: “We all grew up in Camps Bay. Our parents belonged to this committee and we hope our children will also follow in our footsteps. Our oldest member at the moment is 87 years old and the youngest one is only 24.”

The club prides itself on being the first club to introduce night play in the Western Cape – and its women’s team has a reputation for being among the best.

The records of Evelyn Chiat is proof of this. “Evelyn was the top bowler in the country for years. She’s one of the best the country has ever seen,” said Tony Coburn who has been a committee member since 1979.

And each committee member brings their own talents to the table.

“Some of us are plumbers, artisans, teachers, and different professions and we all come together and help where we can because we’re more like an NGO,” said Mr Sieff who is the DIY guru in the team and fixes just about everything.

Though bowling is declining in popularity worldwide, the committee ,together with the social club and league bowlers, have managed to maintain a strong membership.

“We’re more than just a bowling club, we’re a close-knit community and we can count on each other,” said Mr Sieff.

According to Mr Breakey, the club has seen a number of overseas tourists and people who have left the country come to the bowling club to play or just catch up.

“The old British Lions rugby team always comes here and just plays bowls. They are coming down in June this year and we’re like their headquarters in South Africa,” said Mr Breakey.

The club has been such a huge part of the Camps Bay community that even the CPF hold their meetings there and organisations such as the National Sea Rescue Institute have used the club for fundraising events.

“We are all about the community, we’re for the community and at the end of the day we want nothing but the best for the Camps Bay community,” said Mr Breakey.