IT has been six years since the Hills Hornets were crowned lawn bowl champions of NSW but a revamped format for the inaugural Champions League tournament has given the squad a boost in confidence.
For the first time the competition will see men and women of all ages compete in the same competition, at the same time, for the same trophy.
The Hills Club's Tim Padovan said the game had changed since he first represented Queensland as a junior in 1983.
Once considered a sport for older people, the game has seen more and more juniors flock to the greens.
"The appreciation and encouragement of junior bowlers is so different now," Padovan said.
"It's a sport where everyone plays on an equal footing so having a mixed competition will be good and will bring a new aspect to lawn bowls."
The 41-year-old said mental strength was just as important as physical ability in lawn bowls.
"The difference between bowls and other sports is it's a sport of the mind," he said.
"Some people call it chess on the green; it's very tactical.
"It's a thinker's game but you also need good hand-eye co-ordination."
Some traditional rules of lawn bowls have been altered for the new tournament to allow for closer matches. Overall performances are rewarded rather than punishing players for a few bad ends.
"It means if you start slow you have a chance to get back in it and get points along the way," he said.
"The Hills won the NSW Premier League in 2006 and then sat out the next few years, so we are still in a rebuilding phase."
The Champions League Lawn Bowls NSW competition runs from August 24 until October 14.
¦ For details, visit championsleague.lawnbowlsonline.bvit.com.au or thehillsclub.com.au.