Skaters bowled over


Bayswatermelon Breezers Hannah            Jenning, Amy Wundersitz, Taylor                       Murray, Louise Arcus, Isabella Popov, Dee James and Casey Causley.
Picture: Andrew Ritchiewww.communitypix.com.au   d450448
Bayswatermelon Breezers Hannah Jenning, Amy Wundersitz, Taylor Murray, Louise Arcus, Isabella Popov, Dee James and Casey Causley. Picture: Andrew Ritchiewww.communitypix.com.au d450448

The league that started as a ’90s nostalgic hit-around between 20 friends struck a deal with the Bayswater Bowling and Recreation Club and converted an old bowling green into a skate rink in September last year.

The deal meant the bowls club, which was two months from closing, could keep its doors open.

The Street Roller Hockey League will launch its sixth season next week and feature about 110 teams, including more than a dozen all-girl teams.

League commissioner Eamonn Lourey was in his final year of university when he and a friend decided to hold a one-off street roller hockey game that “sort of blew up from there” when a Facebook group was started.

“Most people are 18 to 30, so we’re kind of reliving the nostalgia of the ’90s. Ice hockey and inline hockey are very small sports in WA, so the fact that no one has played it before has made it very raw; no one really knows what they’re doing,” he said.

The team names playfully refer to Perth’s suburbs and include the Wembley Food Courts, Coolbinia Cruisers, Lake Mongrels, Dog Swamp Swamp Dogs, Innaloominati and Fremantle Cappuccino Strippers.

Mr Lourey said they had played on public basketball courts and high school courts before they found the Bayswater site.

Bayswater Bowling and Recreation Club president Steve Lay said the two sports clubs were “saving each other”.

“The greens are $200,000 to replace each and the club was virtually broke early in 2015 and was probably two months away from closing the doors,” he said.

“There are a lot of very jealous bowling clubs out there that are bit by bit dying that would crawl over broken glass to get this opportunity.”

Mr Lay said bowls members socialised with the younger hockey players.

“Unfortunately a lot of the councils don’t see young people as a viable alternative to saving bowling clubs, which is contrary to what should happen – Bayswater council has been very supportive,” he said.

All-girl team Bayswatermelon Breezers comprises mostly City of Bayswater residents; many had not skated in 10 years.

The players said they were pleased with the Bayswater rink, as they played some matches at Maylands Primary School last year where they had to compete for court time with basketball players and dodge gumnuts.