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 : February 2011
10 Bowls In Focus Tracing back to when and where Minyip bowler Tiena Funcke’s long association with the sport first begun leads to an unlikely source. Enter salt and pepper shakers – a dinner table cruet set. Sitting at the dinner table listening to her family members discuss their days on the greens, she would watch on as the salt and pepper shakers and any condiments on the table were brought in to play, used to reflect the action of the day’s best and worst bowling. “My parents and my mother-in-law played. My husband started playing about 12 months before me and I decided if you can’t beat them you have to join them,” Funcke said. “I got sick of the salt and pepper shakers being on the table and ‘we did this shot and we did that shot’, so I thought I’d have to join in.” Naturally, Funcke transformed from salt and pep- per observer to keen exponent of the dinner table games. “I’m afraid so,” she said. The table games became less and less frequent and now remain a memory. But they can be cred- ited with the start of Tiena’s playing and umpiring career. Taking up bowls in 1977, she joining the Minyip Bowls Club where she is still a player. Her career on the greens has netted her 14 club championships and she has also played at state level. She has also carved a successful career as an umpire and marker, having officiated at World Championship events and 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne. “Out of the 300 applicants I think 16 men and 16 ladies got in it and I was one of those lucky ones,” she said. “It was just fantastic. I will never forget it. “We were lucky enough they asked us to do lots and lots of other things. I went to Queensland to Tweed Heads and marked there and they took us around to all the bigger events to see how we coped there and get us used to cameras. “It was the biggest thrill I have ever had and two years later I was invited to go to New Zealand and do the World Bowls. “I had to pay for my flight over but that was nothing, the rest was all paid for. “We had a couple of days free so we had a chance to look around. “I have been very, very lucky, whether I have been in the right place at the right time I don’t know.” Tiena said marking at international level had given her many memorable moments. She said the top players were willing to share a joke and didn’t often get frus- trated with decisions. “I remember one day Steve Glasson was play- ing and it was pouring rain and I happened to be umpiring on that green and he called for the umpire because he doesn’t carry a measure,” she said. “He called and I said ‘you just want me to get wet don’t you’ and he said ‘well I am wet so I don’t see why you can’t be’.” She said it was also the case working with the media, who took a deep interest in every call. “One day I got off the green and I made a very close call but I’d made the call and two ABC com- mentators - Ian Schuback and Quentin Hull - had a bet in the commentary box that I was wrong,” she recalled. “The two players got up and agreed with me so Ian Schuback lost a dollar. “I had great pleasure in saying ‘did you lose some money on me?’” Tiena was born in Holland and moved to Austra- lia when she was eight. She lived in Hastings and Warracknabeal before returning to Melbourne and then shifting back to Warracknabeal. She’s spent the past 42 years in Minyip and has played all of her bowls for the same club. A small club, Funcke hasn’t been part of a pennant premiership team. She said it had become harder to get numbers to fill the 12 spots in a pennant roster. The club often plays with men, mostly division three players but occasionally with players from the higher grades. Funcke said her husband Ray had even filled in this year. “My husband did play this year because he has just started to use a bowler’s arm. I said ‘are you using us guinea pigs?’” she joked. “A lot of people have moved to Horsham. I reckon we have half a pennant side over there. We often meet them at pennant and tournaments.” Funcke, a level two coach, said the restructure of associations next season didn’t faze her. Minyip, Rupanyup and Murtoa will move to Nor th Wimmera association. Central Wimmera District Ladies Asso- ciation will cease to exist and the men’s and ladies bowls competitions will move under one banner. “It didn’t worry me. I knew it was going to come,” she said. “We were a ladies only association so when the unification came in I knew we were going to be split up. “We will miss the Horsham girls but we can still go there to tournaments. It is not going to make much difference. I know a lot of the girls up there because I am an ex-Warracknabeal girl myself.” Like most sports, Funcke said lawn bowls had undergone changes since she’d started, from rule alterations, uniforms overhauls, with the pants now preferred to the traditional dress, and coloured lawn bowls. “You look across the green and it looks like Smarties all over the green but for marking, a bright red one will look shot against a black one,” she said. Funcke said some changes and improvements had also been important in encouraging a younger generation to take up the sport. She said increased media coverage, coloured clothes and the ability to make your pennant debut at any age were steps in the right direction. “When our two boys wanted to start the minimum age was 18 before they could play pennant, then it was 16 and now it’s any age,” she said. “If your hand is big enough to hold a bowl, you can play.” Funcke said lawn bowls, like many spor ts, was addictive. Once you’re in, you’re hooked. “My brother-in-law, he’s just started, and he always used to laugh at us and scoff at us ‘fancy playing that spor t’,” she said. “Now he plays about three or four times a week. It sounds familiar to the story of Funcke herself, who was soon hooked and now intends to plays bowls for as long as she can. Andsheowesitalltoasetofsaltand pepper shakers. - Justine McCullagh-Beasy • Champion Minyip bowler and international technical officer Tiena Funcke with the cruet set that started it all off.
March April 2011