In September 1957, whilst boarding at The Carriers’ Arms Hotel in Wodonga, I was encouraged to join the Wodonga Bowls Club. Surprisingly, I learned early, that I had potential to become a relatively good bowler. In my first year I was selected, occasionally, as a member in the club’s top pennant team in the Ovens and Murray Association.
As the youngest member of the club, (I was 25 years of age, while other members were in their fifties, sixties and seventies, some even older) the coach and my skipper took me under their wings. They took me with them regularly to tournaments in the surrounding districts of a Sunday, after having played pennant on Saturdays. We were often successful in winning the tournament.
I particularly recall one tournament at Gerogery, a small country club which did not have overhead lights. Our rink was playing off in the finals at dusk. We progressed to the grand final and it became so dark that the skipper had to strike a match to show players the location of the “kitty”. What an experience! Our side won!
On joining the Benalla Bowls Club in 1963 I was a regular player in their top Ovens and Murray team. I held my place for some fifteen to twenty years. We never won a premiership but played off in the grand final on three occasions.
Benalla, because of doubt of our future in the Ovens and Murray Association , entered a team in the Goulburn Valley Association. I was selected and we were runners-up in our one and only year.
On returning from the Goulburn Valley Association I was relegated and played the rest of my bowling career in a lower grade. We won three premierships and played in several finals. In the lower grade there were only three rinks in a team. 1984/85 was a memorable year. We were playing in the grand final at Corowa on a very hot Sunday afternoon. The other two rinks in our team were defeated. Our rink, having been down zero to seven after 2 ends went on to win 48 to 13. A big enough victory to claim the premiership!
For many years I played Country-week bowls in Melbourne with mixed success. I have played finals in the “pairs” and “fours”. Our best effort was to be in the final four of the state. On that occasion the finals were to be played at Drouin some two weeks later. Unfortunately on that date our skipper had a non-negotiable business commitment and had to withdraw. The rest is history.
In January 2014 I sustained a fractured pelvis in a fall doing “meals on wheels”, and I use that as an excuse for retiring from bowls. To be truly honest, my pride won’t accept the fact that I can no longer bowl as well as I used to.
Over many years I have been diligent in the administration of the club, and have been awarded a Club “life membership” for my efforts. I have also received RVBA recognition for” Fifty Years Continuous Membership.”