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Bowls In Focus : June July 2010
Bowls In Focus 35 The game was turning into a slugfest after heavy rain earlier in the week had made the ground heavy and slippery. A bitter wind had blown up and players would be relieved to leave the field. But for now the oppo- sition were attacking hard, attempting to whittle back their deficit on the scoreboard aided by a tail wind. A group of us were cocooned within the warmth and comfort of the clubrooms. A large expanse of glass and elevated position gave a clear view of the reserves footy match play- ing out below. The blaring sound of car horns from the enclave of opposition supporters erupted as the ball was snapped quickly from a tight angle. A shadow of despair befell us but was soon replaced with relief as the goal umpire thumped his left hand against the goal post. Our local team still led by five points and had now flooded the back line, desperate to defend in the dying minutes as the nuggety full-back kicked out deep into the dead pocket. "That's our Wal," said Minty, taking another sip of his steaming potato and leek soup bought from the can- teen. "Gotta hand it to him, he's not afraid to cop abuse." Wal had volunteered to be the goal umpire for the reserves games this season. He was gaining a reputation for giving our team the benefit of the doubt in close decisions. Right now he was being ferociously accosted from across the fence by irate op- position supporters claiming the ball hadn't touched he post. Todd returned our attention to the topic of discussion, saying he was opposed to paying for a 'gun' player. He thought the idea would only divide the club and didn't understand how we could possibly afford to pay anyone to coach a bunch of blokes who took no notice of what was said anyway. "Just look at how they reacted when told they had to vote for the new bowls board," he added. Minty was a bit crestfallen as he was endeavouring to come up with a grand plan that would lift our club that bit extra, to be able to really challenge 'bloody Central', and play finals on a regular basis. He then suggested we put a proposal to the local businesses to gain some finan- cial support, "We could offer them corporate bowls in return," he said excitedly, "we've gotta become more professional." At first glance it was a reasonable proposition, but failed under scrutiny. The biggest local business was the pub - currently suffering because Mil- ligan was staying home with Brenda and the baby most nights of the week. Then there's the milk bar being run by a surly grump who resented having to get up from the crossword to serve a customer, and was unlikely to act as a benefactor to the bowls club. A joinery shop that did well giving local kids part time work after school might help out at a pinch. And of course there's Wal's ga- rage. Poor Wal, who took the Chinese 'Year of the Tiger' as an omen, has in- vested in a Richmond jumper, beanie and scarf and painted the front of his workshop black and yellow. He's even printed 'Put a tiger in your tank', which might have been done before, on the bowser. As 35 muddy footballers jumped on the ball, our water boy trundled out offering drinks and no doubt plenty of advice. Milligan had taken on the role; some worried it might be a health and safety risk if the big boofhead even thought about moving at anything above strolling pace. But Milligan maintained that he was keen to get involved, so he was also allotted the job of cutting up oranges for the half-time break. Most of us believed he had volunteered because of the bar privileges that came with the job. Vince, our president and local pharmacist offered a small amount of money for a coach if there were other sponsors 'coming on board' but said that he really preferred to offer club members discounts on what he referred to as 'the stuff of life', blood pressure pills, rheumatic relief and vitamins. Minty then suggested we try trad- ing for players as we all squirmed in our seats, fearing his next dramatic plan, then he suggested, "What if we got rid of Milligan?" Now there could be positives in not having the blundering oaf wreaking havoc every Saturday afternoon, but really who would have him? Besides, he is a damn good bowler and has a son who might sign up albeit in ten years time. On the field the opposition snapped a shot that clearly was a behind as Wal ceremoniously sig- nalled, waving the single flag directly at the opposition supporters. They responded in kind with single fingers. Our 'magoos' were four points in front and under fire. As expected the ball was kicked into the dead pocket where all the players had congregated. Just as the ball squirted across the ground open- ing up for the opposition, a fight broke out. This was a melee that Dermie Brereton would have been proud to be a part of. It was the dying seconds and both umpires were busy refereeing the stoush and hadn't blown time on. The ball laid motionless 20 metres from goal and an opposition player was wearily trudging towards it as Milligan was exiting the field after a water delivery. Just before the collision Mil- ligan had turned and was waddling backwards. "Didn't realise he was there," he maintained later. The flat- tened player had no hope of moving while the cumbersome Milligan lay prostrate across him as the siren sounded. Opposition supporters were baying for blood and both Wal and Milligan sought protection by keeping close to the huddle of local players when they left the ground. After that effort it was clear that Milligan was indispensable, an inte- gral member of any team, and Minty would have to come up with some other grand plan to lift the club. Talks of player trading and sponsorship are a big topic in this latest yarn from the pen of bush bowling bard Doug Maconachie. . . www.riverinabowls.com.au where champions shop Lawn bowls wear and accessories 529 High St, Echuca VIC 3564 p. 03 5482 1388 firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.riverinabowls.com.au Biggest range of coloured bowls wear! We buy and trade second hand bowls Bowlers leave your bias on the green and not bring it to the club house Free delivery for orders made on our website for month of May and June Illustration by Rod Marget Jeepers, I can't even spell prefeshernal!
Bowls In Focus May 2010
August September 2010