A LOCAL bowling club is pinning its hopes of survival on the lure of a tasty dim sim, special fried rice and other delicious delicacies.
Never in its 60 years of existence has Oxley Bowling Club had a restaurant, but declining memberships and changing tides have forced directors to think outside the square.
Last Thursday the bowlo in North Tamworth unveiled a Chinese restaurant, naming veteran chef Rick Tan as the man in charge.
Treasurer and life member John Corcoran said the bowling club was perilously close to going under after full financial bowling memberships dropped to an all time low of 24.
“It looked like we might have had to close the doors ... it was very, very close,” Mr Corcoran said.
“The board of directors then decided we had to do something and Rick finished up at the South Tamworth bowling club and agreed to come to us and then we decided to invest in revamping the kitchen facility.”
“We’re hoping, fingers crossed, with his cooking as good as it is, it will draw a lot of patrons into the restaurant and help us keep the club going.”
Mr Corcoran said membership numbers had declined steadily over the years along with the sport’s appeal to the younger crowds.
“There’s no younger ones coming through the ranks and we are all getting older,” he said.
“While it is still one of the cheapest sports you can play a lot of people on pensions can’t afford the fees that are being put up to them at his time.”
But things are looking up, with the restaurant fully booked on its opening night.
“The North Tamworth area where we are and behind the TAFE and Oxley High School there is a shortage of restaurants close by other than the other bowling clubs,” Mr Corcoran said.
“Our biggest drama has always been people coming to the club, but with no eating facilities they would have to leave as they needed to eat.
“By putting this restaurant in it is really going to boost us and keep patrons there for a bit longer and help us trade out and keep the club on its feet.”
The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner from Thursday to Sunday.