by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
Bowls In Focus : August September 2009
IN FOCUS The Prime Of Your Career H aving recently watched that old classic movie, ‘The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie’ my mind, as it often does, wandered to bowls with the question, ‘at what stage of a bowler’s life is he or she in their prime?’ In this regard bowls has undergone a change not experienced in any other sport. Thirty years ago bowls was an older man’s (or woman’s) game that youngsters could play, but it is now the reverse, a young man’s (or woman’s) game that older men or women can play. Australia is a highly sports-minded country and younger people in their teens, twenties and thirties chose more active type summer sports like cricket, tennis, golf and basketball. Long before that, even as early as post World War II, youngsters in the British Isles and other countries that didn’t benefit from the facilities or the weather conditions enjoyed by us Aussies, turned to bowls as their number one sporting activity. On my first visit to the UK in the early eighties I was very surprised (and at the time disappointed) by the number of youngsters, some only seven or eight years old playing bowls instead of the traditionally active sports. On return from that trip my analytic brain began to think more deeply about the British situation, and I realised that bowlers from those northern hemisphere nations were representing their countries at an age when we in Australia hadn’t even thought about bowls as ‘the’ sport for us. The realisation also came to me that those youngsters, especially the ones not capable of excelling at the more active and rougher sports, were better off playing bowls than roaming the streets and getting into mischief. It seemed to me that those elite bowlers from the UK were in their prime when in their twenties and thirties, a far cry from our situation. Our team for the Commonwealth Games at Edmonton, Canada in 1978 consisted of seven players with West Australian Geoff Oakley being the youngest at around 40 and Clarrie Watkins from NSW the oldest at 60. The average age was just over 50 years. Among my scrapbooks I have a letter from the late, great Glyn Bosisto, who states that a bowler is in his prime between the ages of 50 and 55 years. How things have changed in the last 30 years? These days if you are over 40 years of age, selectors at both state and national level wouldn’t give you a second glance. The Australian men’s squad has only one player above 40, our own Mark Jacobsen (41) and he’s very much the dinosaur of the group. Not being quite so familiar with the ladies squad I’ll just say that they have some brilliant youngsters such as Brooke Edwards and Carla Odgers and have groomed Victorian bred Samantha Shannahan and SHOP ONLINE www.thebowlsshoppe.com.au Claire Duke, who are now attached to interstate clubs. Elite players not in the national squad, Steve Glasson and Kelvin Kerkow, are, to my way of thinking, the two best players in this country and both are in their late thirties. So, the question is, at what age is a player in his or her prime? Having just witnessed the final of the prestigious Park Beach Singles at Coffs Harbour, where the winner drives away in a brand new car, it was contested between two players in their twenties. The winner was Matthew Pietersen from St Johns Park, who has just turned 20. A very bright and personable young man, Matthew is a brilliant player and won the New South Wales State Singles four years ago at the ripe old age of sixteen. It suggests the prime age for a bowler in this country is reducing every decade. There are many factors to take into account when assessing a bowler’s prime including the age commenced, time available in early years, and not the least, finance. Taking into account all the forego- ing factors, and speaking in general terms, my guesstimate would be the prime is somewhere between 35 and 40 years of age. If you are older (like me) don’t despair however, there is still a great amount of joy to be had playing bowls at any age. Fully Stocked Reduced Prices New & Pre-loved Bowls Demo Bowls available Trade-ins Welcome Coloured Bowls Trackpants and Shorts Coloured Slough Hats Coloured Polar Fleece Vests Coloured Baseball Caps Call us for a quote on club orders. Coloured pants from $37, Vests from $37, hats from $13 Coloured Bucket Hats 54 Bowls In Focus