Women bowlers leading the way

Joy Schroder grabs a slice of history in qualifying for minor singles final

Mel Mende lets down a bowl under the observant eye of Joy Schroder in their Tumut Men’s Bowling Club minor singles semi-final.

Joy Schroder created history at Club Tumut on Wednesday when she became the first woman to qualify for a Tumut Men’s Bowling Club (TMBC) singles final.

Schroder was dominant when defeating Mel Mende 31-9 in the all-female semi final and will now take on Peter Fardel in the TMBC minor singles final, which is scheduled to be played on Sunday. 

A very humble Schroder didn’t want to spruik her achievement too much and insisted she still had a job to do on Sunday. 

“It’s not done just yet. It’s still win, lose or draw and I just need to do my best in the final,” Schroder said. 

“I’m just proving myself. I’m showing them that women can bowl and that I’m not too old yet.”

Schroder, who defeated two men on the way to her semi-final appearance against Mende, was hoping that these events and achievements by local women bowlers would attract younger women to the sport.  

“I would hope this helps and it could possibly attract some new players. It’s better for the younger people, but they still have to come and play,” Schroder said. 

Mende was a little more vocal on the subject and believes this result is just the tip of the iceberg for women’s bowling in this region.

“It’s fantastic, it is great for us women and proves that ladies can hold our own and this is just the start of it,” Mende said.

Mende further explained the importance of women playing against the men on a regular basis, especially for those wanting to improve their game. 

“I think bowling against the men is critical for the growth and development of the younger players, particularly women, because we are not in the city and we don’t have the high-end women players to compete with,” Mende said. 

“Around here, the next challenge we have are the men, because we are limited by the number of women that play.”

According to Mende, this result and the strong contingent of women bowlers taking up the chance to play against the men, could very well lead to a merger of both men and women’s bowlers in the future.  

“Eventually it will end up going that way. There has always been talk about it, so you would think it would happen eventually and Men’s Bowls NSW and Women’s Bowls would merge,” Mende said.  

When asked if Schroder had what was needed to earn a historic win against Fardel on Sunday, Mende was confident in her good field and rival.

“Joy is one of our most consistent lady bowlers. She has been playing for a very long time and she has won many, many women championships and she deserves a chance to win this,” Mende said.