The Western Sydney club rolling out Australia’s lawn bowls talent

Never a runner or a sprinter, Carl Healey was always into sports, so when he took up his uncle’s suggestion to play lawn bowls in 2000 he found his calling and never looked back.

More than 20 years later, Healey is representing Australia at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

“If you take something up, and you’re reasonably good at it and you have the support, you tend to continue,” Healey said.

Carl Healey will represent Australia in lawn bowls at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. (Supplied: Commonwealth Games Australia)

Seeking to take his game to another level, Healey joined the competitive Cabramatta Bowling Club in 2014, the home of a number of state and national representatives.

“When you compete against top-class quality at all times it betters your game,” Healey said.

He is one of four members of the Cabramatta Bowling Club, or Cabra Bowls, who will be competing at the Games.

Ellen Ryan and Aaron Wilson are club bowlers also playing for Australia, while Carmen Anderson will be representing Norfolk Island.

Three coaches on the Australian team are also from the club including head coach Gary Willis, assistant coach Karen Murphy, and para bowls coach Ellen Falkner.

The club’s executive manager of bowls Michael Ibbotson said competitive players look to join Cabramatta because it invests in a professional culture.

It also makes the effort to keep its elite players and coaching staff at the club.

“Our really high level players have been here for quite some time so we do have the opportunity to develop,” Mr Ibbotson said.

“We have an expectation of high performance in the sport. A level of professionalism is really key.”

A bowling club green with a shelter
Several Commonwealth Games athletes call the Cabramatta Bowling Club home. (ABC Radio Sydney: Declan Bowring)

National body Bowls Australia has also noted the clubs success.

General manager of participation and programs Chris Wallace said having national-level coaches was a major draw for good quality players.

“If you go back through state competitions you’ll see Cabramatta players littered throughout the the honour rolls,” Mr Wallace said.

“Attracting good quality players and good coaches will always help attract others.”

One advantage the club can boast is a covered bowling green which means they can say bowls is always on.

Men playing lawn bowls in front of a shelter structure
Cabramatta Bowling Club boasts a bowling green sheltered from inclement weather.(ABC Radio Sydney: Declan Bowring)

“Weather is a factor with outdoor sports, we want to take care of the surfaces,” Mr Ibbotson said.

“It definitely does help with us being able to always put something on for our bowlers. They can turn up and they can practice or play basically whenever they want.”

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