Durie Hill Bowling Club are delighted with the response from their local community to get into the sport on a social basis, as dozens have flocked to the Windsor Terrace clubrooms over the past two months.

The brain child of Kelvin Francis and Gene Ridgway, 'Friday Fives at the Hill' saw teams involved in triples competition at 6pm on Friday evenings under Bowls3Five rules.

In the busy modern world where shortened versions of traditional sports like rugby sevens and Twenty20 cricket are becoming the norm, Bowls3Five has been televised on Sky TV and consists of games with short time limits, where players have two bowls each per end, and are played as a best-of three sets format, consisting of five ends a set.

Francis said they took that framework and combined it with the successful 'Barefoot Bowls' concept which has been introduced in Australia to create social leagues at clubs which have been struggling for numbers.


'Friday Fives' had an 80 minute time limit for triples games, with teams registering five players so they can either use substitutes or still have a full lineup available even if somebody is off sick or has another commitment.

Teams could have only one regular club bowler each, who is not allowed to act as the skip.

Francis said their inaugural season had 12 teams – therefore over 60 people taking part or watching.

"We wanted to put Durie Hill Bowling Club on the map," he said.

"We got people who have never played before in the game.

"We put it out there to challenge your mates, or challenge your workmates.

"We only had one rain off, we ran for seven weeks."

The club would open its kitchen for the event, as well as the bar, with $4 beers being very popular.

Francis agreed that given their community's location, the players liked having a social place to go on Friday nights to have a laugh, or take it seriously, then park up for a while with food and drink at a venue which for many was walking distance from home.

"That went really, really well.

"We got some playing members out of it."

Every team received a prize at the end of the sevens weeks, which consisted of cash for the winners and wooden spoons for the 12th-placed group.

Durie Hill will be bringing back Friday Fives next February.