Wallace and Carlson lend a helping hand
International Technical Officials Sandy Wallace and Bob Carlson recently travelled to Port Moresby Papua New Guinea to conduct a training course for local bowlers in preparation for the Pacific Games.
Port Moresby PNG won the bid to host the 15th Pacific Games to be held in July 2015; the event will involve 21 neighbouring countries, 28 sports and will require 3000 volunteers.
The Pacific Games association funded Wallace and Carlson (with the assistance of World Bowls Ltd and Bowls Australia) to visit Port Moresby and train the locals for three days, ensuring they are capable of hosting an international lawn bowls competition.
Not only is it great for the bowlers and volunteers of PNG to be trained in umpiring and marking; but by having Wallace and Carlson train the locals to officiate their own event, the Pacific Games association will have less security concerns and travel expenses for ITO’s who may no longer be needed during the games.
It was the trip of a lifetime for Wallace and Carlson who realized just how in need of help PNG were in terms of knowledge and equipment and whilst the pair was apprehensive about the pending trip, since returning they have expressed it was without a doubt the most rewarding experience in their time involved with Lawn Bowls.
Sandy Wallace (Holdfast Bay, South Australia) was kind enough to share her experience with Bowls Australia.
“From the moment we were greeted by the welcoming party at the airport until the time we had to leave, we were surrounded by the most helpful, friendly and happiest of people,” Mrs Wallace said.
“Our 17 trainees were so eager to learn as they knew next to nothing about officiating, however they showed such genuine interest in whatever we had to share, whether it was practical, visuals or theory, they truly absorbed it like sponges.”
Wallace and Carlson spent two days at the bowls club and one day in a lovely air conditioned conference room; a nice break from the humidity outside.
“In my life time I’m sure I will never again see such poor conditions in regards to the greens and clubhouse and such a lack of all things bowls,” Mrs Wallace said.
“The club is based at the army barracks, the green was timed at nine seconds, the surface was the worst I have ever put a bowl down on and the boundary pegs were just sticks in the ground.”
The bowls the locals play with are so old the dates are no longer legible and in terms of umpiring equipment, the Australians got a huge shock when they saw how the locals measure.
“The most common use of measuring in PNG is with a palm, coconut or banana leaf strip and for the length of the jack, they simply stepped it out; so you can imagine they couldn’t believe their eyes when we showed them the various pieces of equipment we use in Australia for marking and measuring.
In five months Port Moresby hope to have two artificial greens laid and a brand new club house which will be a huge improvement on their plastic tables, cracked concrete floors and a green that is simply a flat dirt surface.
Bob Carlson (Sunbury, Victoria) and Sandy Wallace have been busy collecting donations for their new found friends and have so far managed to collect 22 used tape measures and $262 towards purchasing more equipment to send over.
Carlson and Wallace hope to return to PNG to either conduct another training course or assist during the Pacific Games.
Next on the agenda for the busy pair is a trip to the Gold Coast in February where they will conduct a training clinic for those who have volunteered to be a marker or umpire during the Australian Open at Club Helensvale, Robina Bowling Club, Southport Bowls Club and Tugun.