Once exclusively the domain of the seniors brigade, lawn bowls has in more recent years been adopted as a sport of choice by males and females of all ages, including primary school age students.
"It is suitable for boys and girls, it has many health benefits, it is cheap, inclusive and most of all for the young ones it is fun to play," says Warren Boyd, a longtime bowls player, coach and administer and retired primary school teacher and principal.
"And while we have maintained the way the game of lawn bowls is played, we have made one adjustment to the number of ends, reducing the number to two sets of eight ends in high school and five ends in primary schools."
'Let's Play Bowls' was launched in 2015 and is being introduced to Port Stephens primary schools in 2020, with Soldiers Point Bowling Club hosting the inaugural competition, which is being rolled out in the schools this week.
Boyd, a former Newcastle District Bowling Association chairman and Hunter Academy of Sport bowls instructor, said that that a number of students had already taken up the offer to trial lawn bowls.
"It is unique in that the competition will involve all education departments; government, non-government and catholic primary schools and all three bowling greens on the Tomaree peninsula: Soldiers Point, Nelson Bay and Fingal Bay.
"In 2018, the Hunter region launched the first school competition resulting in a new wave of interest in junior bowls. Port Stephens in 2020 will follow suit by inviting all primary schools to introduce lawn bowls as a after school sports activity.
"The aim is to encourage 10, 11 and 12 year old boys and girls to visit their local bowling club, seek support through coaching and training and prepare for competition in Term 3.
"The teams are made up of three players a side, which can be any combination of boys and girls, and if the sets are tied at 1-1 a shootout is played to determine the winner. The competition has been running in the Newcastle/Hunter for just two years and the kids love it."
Boyd said that each set would take about 30 minutes to complete, "so the games are usually over within an hour".
All children are welcome to try out in the first two terms of school, after which teachers, school sport organisers, parents and clubs will form teams of three players and enter through the www.letsplaybowls.com website.
The 'play-offs' to find the 'best' four teams to enter the finals series will commence in Term 3 and the grand finals will be determined in Term 4. To register contact Warren Boyd on 0403 194 683.