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Bowls In Focus : August September 2009
The winter hibernation is almost over for Milligan and his motley mates in this latest yarn from the pen of ‘bush bowling bard’ Doug Maconachie... wintry Saturday morning, our local footy team had a home game and car horns could be heard tooting whenever the thirds kicked a goal. It was about as far away from the bowls season as you could get. Unfortunately Milligan decided to join me in a cup of coffee; denying me a chance of a quiet start to the day. It wasn’t long until we got onto the subject of bowls and the coming season. “I’ve heard a few blokes are getting Wake up and smell the perennials you blokes! M illigan bumped into me at the local deli café. It was a wet, sunlight Wal’s were definitely pink, but whenever anybody commented on them he protested that they were red. But what the heck, they were bargain basement price and I was beginning to wish I hadn’t listened to Milligan’s advice. new coloured bowls,” I mentioned. Fact is, I had even been considering it myself. Our newest member, a somewhat mysterious dealer in imports and exports, Neil Carlson had been offering new sets of bowls at very cheap prices. After swallowing his mouthful of toasted tomato sandwich and slurping coffee, Milligan warned me against such a purchase, and by way of explanation clinched his argument by saying he just had a funny feeling about them, “The vibe’s not right,” he added somewhat quizzically. Six weeks later Minty, our selfappointed strategist and obsessive chewer of mint-flavoured gum had gathered us together; the aged, the cantankerous and the misfits who parade as members of the bowling club. He was attempting to teach us the value of strength of mind and mental preparation, and how it would improve our performance. “We need to trim our perennial habits and take mental control of our actions,” he started. That had us all scratching our heads wondering what it meant, but Minty continued unfazed by the looks of confusion and bewilderment. He had been on a retreat over the break in an attempt to discover that winning edge. Beside me sat Wal, who was paying more attention to his new set of coloured bowls. He had ordered red ones, but these appeared to be more pink than red. When Minty paused to give us a demonstration on how to look while mentally preparing, Wal quietly asked Milligan what Minty had been saying, because he hadn’t been listening. The reply came in typically boisterous Milligan speak, “It’s time we pruned the perennials.” “Bollocks,” retorted Wal, “they should have been done weeks ago, they’re startin’ to shoot now!” It was the catalyst to a general discussion on the timing of cutting back perennial plants. There were twenty-five blokes assembled, but thirty different opinions on the subject of pruning and care of perennials in the garden. Meanwhile, Minty, who had been well and truly forgotten by everyone, awoke from his mediative trance to find his followers in deep discussion on the subject of gardening in general. Despairingly he called out for attention, saying that it was time we all got on the green for some practise. It soon became obvious that Neil Carlson had sold many sets of new coloured bowls; proud owners were carefully polishing and commenting on each one’s choice of colour. In the Minty had us split into six groups and put us through six drills he had set up on separate rinks. In the first one he wanted us to close our eyes and imagine trailing the jack a metre. “How did that feel, could you see it happening,” Minty asked as we completed the task. Milligan replied that all he could see was the cold beers waiting for him in the fridge at home. We cycled through the various tasks as laid out by our master tactician. When our group had finished we sat and watched the others. The last task was driving practise at a bare jack. Not many managed to hit the target which was of great consternation to Minty, but of greater concern to the owners of the new bowls was the amount of paint chipping away with the solid contact on the bank. Underneath were black bowls! With a hearty guffaw Milligan told me how on cold night, as he was returning after a day of ferreting, he had seen a truck in the laneway next to Neil Carlson’s shed and there was feverish activity unloading many boxes that could have contained bowls. On the side of the truck was written ‘China Shipping’. Some managed to remove the paint and have a reasonable set of new black bowls, while others demanded their money back. Wal in particular was incensed saying he hadn’t ordered pink bowls anyway. However, to Minty it was all just mind over matter. Lawn bowls wear and accessories www.riverinabowls.com.au where champions shop EVERYTHING NEW! Coloured Lawn Bowls, Bag, Shirt, Pants, Socks, Shoes & Hat all for $600! Beginners Packs - Check out our WEBSITE for a FREE PAIR of ( Bowls Shoe limited sizes). 529 High St, Echuca VIC 3564 p. 03 5482 1388 firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.riverinabowls.com.au Bowls In Focus 51 Illustration by Rod Marget