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Bowls In Focus : August September 2011
Bowls In Focus 23 “Register your details at www.DoncasterSportingGear.com.au for my monthly winning tips” Kaz 914A Doncaster Road, East Doncaster Vic 3109 Phone: (03) 9848 7387 Fax: (03) 9848 6977 Proud Sponsors 10% off on presenting this advert (excluding bowls, bowling arm, special and other discounts) • Shoes • Bags • Women’s Wear • Menswear • Demo Bowls • Accessories • New Bowls • Hats • Pre-Loved Bowls www.DoncasterSportingGear.com.au check the honour boards to see what she has achieved. A quick check and count revealed she has won the club championship a mere 27 times and is now in her third term as president. In fact she likes to duck off the question of her bowls and talk about the club and the problems facing it today compared to when she started at the age of 37 with three children at home and a busy household to run. “When you joined you had to be available to play pennant,” she said explaining that together with one other new member she was unable to commit as her youngest Gail was not at school at the time. “ We both felt very unwanted.” But it wasn’t long before she was into the swing of competitive bowls, courtesy of a neighbour with children the same age as hers and with whom she shared a mind the kids routine after school. “They had somewhere to go to. You wouldn’t do it now, you’d be picking them up instead of playing,” she said. With Julie, her eldest daughter being six years ahead of her siblings, Jean and Eric also managed to escape the house for an hour’s practice together most evenings and in telling this she gave away some advice. “ We would play a drive and then a draw,” she said explaining that many players find it difficult to draw after sending down a drive. “Its not always easy to draw after you’ve put a fast one down.” Thornbury, like many metropolitan bowling clubs today, is short of regular membership, almost a smidgen of the number of members as when Jean started. “There are plenty of bare foot bowlers who enjoy what we have to offer but it membership that keeps clubs going,” she suggested. Fielding a full pennant side was a piece of cake in the past, players almost standing in a cue to get a game in the women’s side. “Today we grab anyone with two arms and two legs to play,” she chuckled before starting into the politics of mixed sides. “My biggest concern was that the elderly ladies were going to end up with an injury but fortunately that never happened,” as she launched in to an explanation of just how powerful a projectile a lawn bowl can be when dispatched at full tilt, particularly by a strapping male. “The big decline in bowls happened when mixed pennant came in. Ladies pennant was no longer ladies pennant and the ladies got cheesed off.” Jean, along with many, is glad that change has come to the pennant set up and is rearing to go when the season starts. Always an astute bowler who has a very unflappable air about her on the green, Jean says that the player she looked up to when her own career started was the great Norma Massey. “She was a legend before I started, she was like a machine,” she declared. And the question led into another of her of her pet thoughts, state selection. She feels that there was more consistency in the teams of her time for the simple reason a player had to have a state title to their credit or gone close to be considered, saying “Its different now and the results are showing.” But while her mind may be on club matters, her seasoned eye is still lifting on today’s younger bowlers and it is the current Australian Open singles champion, Lisa Phillips who she tips as having a stellar future. “She reads the heads well and she knows it. If she’s got the capability she’ll go a long way.” But as she points out bowls is a difficult game. “You can go from champion to chump. It’s such a leveller and therein lays the challenge. It’s a hand co coordinated game using your brain.” And the record book says it all for Jean Chick. Back to back state singles champion in 1989 and 1990 while also picking up the pairs title in 1990 with Pat Crook. In 1994 she won it again with Helen Davies (Bosisto), while in 2003 she added the third jewel to her crown playing with Marge Morris. Jean also has two Helen Bridgeford fours to her credit, three Master Singles titles and the 1994 Champion of Champions crown. This list goes on but adding her achievements at her beloved Thornbury bowling club would mean running out of paper. Everyone knows Jean and all admire and respect their pal ‘Chicky’. She’s one of the greats. - Di Gatehouse • Left: Thornbury great Jean Chick. • Above: Sending one away during one of her 142 quality state appearances.
June July 2011