Hockey bowls ’em over

AFTER almost three years of nomadic hockey games in public schools and car parks, Perth’s Street Roller Hockey League has found a home, breathing new life into the Bayswater Bowls Club.

A smooth concrete slab was laid over a bowls green that had been damaged in a freak storm five years ago.

SRHL commissioner Eamonn Lourey said the most important part of the rink was lighting, which allowed teams to train and compete at night — a luxury they haven’t had before. The crowdfunded rink opened on October 4, with games running late into the evening.

• Teams “Freopian Tubes” (the old Dockers-looking jerseys) and “Chick Park” battle it out at the Bayswater rink opening day. Photos supplied | Kristinn Hermanniusson

• Teams “Freopian Tubes” (the old Dockers-looking jerseys) and “Chick Park” battle it out at the Bayswater rink opening day. Photos supplied | Kristinn Hermanniusson

Though the SRHL can be a rowdy bunch, Mr Lourey said the bowls club members “absolutely love us, and are shocked that our generation can be so thankful and polite”.

And they have good reason to feel this way. Not long ago, the bowls club was struggling financially, and under threat of being taken over for soccer fields.

With the financial support of SRHL members (and a new boom in the demand for beer and Pasito), the Bayswater Bowls is safe again.

The rink marks a new age for the SRHL, which has grown rapidly from 10 teams to a whopping 89.

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“It’s an organised sport for disorganised people,” Mr Lourey said. “The league has struck a chord with the youth of Perth, faciliting a change in suburban identity and encouraging a pride in the suburbs that its players call home.

“Friends start a team representing their suburb. They collectively choose a name to go by, whip up a logo and jersey, and bleed for their ‘burb.”

Most recently, the new rink was used for the biannual North vs. South All Star Weekend, in which the best -and worst- players from each side of the river met to reignite an age-old rivalry.

And as for the future of the league?

“I plan on building a second SRHL rink south of the river sometime in the next year,” says Mr Lourey, who intends to partner with more suburban bowling clubs to ensure an ongoing mutual success.

by JESSICA COCKERILL

St Hilda Anglican Church 10x2 Mount Hawthorn P&C 10x2

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