NS What got you first interested in taking up the game?
Having arrived from the UK in 2002 and playing Crown Green Bowls for 30 years I had no choice but to give Flat a go as you don’t play Crown in Australia. When you are a Crown Green Bowler you call this Flat in the UK it just differentiates the two games.
NS – Who were the positive role models in those early months while you were learning the game?
The most positive role model I ever come across was Karen Murphy. Not only a superb bowler but very nice person both on and off the green she really encouraged me to carry on and learn all I could about the game. I went to a presentation day at Noosa Heads and the Australian Team played and then we had dinner with them. She talked to me for ages and I learned so much from her.
NS Who was there supporting your deeds on the green?
Even though they live in the UK definitely my Mum (deceased) and my Brother Richard. I used to phone Mum every week and let her know how I was going and forward a copy of the bowler to her for her and my brother to read and of course to get all the latest Crown Green News. I spent a lot of time travelling to Tewantin Noosa for training with Rick Dixon. He was 1 of the best coaches around at the time and was also working with a young girl called Kelsey Cottrell lol the rest is history there. Ian Schuback then joined Noosa and became my Coach and has helped me ever since.
NS – How often do you get time during the week to play? Is it more working your bowls around work or the other way around?
As often as I like really. We were very lucky to be in a position to semi retire when we came to Australia so we based work around bowls. I train more than I play and only volunteer at the local pet rescue centre now so lots of time to get on the greens.
NS – What sort of bowls do you use at the moment and what sort of bowls have you had in the past (if any)
I use Edge Factor and have used Edge bowls for many years. I am very lucky to be sponsored by them and although I have been offered other sponsorship would never change as long as they still want me!! I use a 4 heavy and I am able to do that as I still have my Crown grip. I cant get out of that grip just ask Shoey!!!!
NS – What did your friends and family say when you started taking up the game?
The UK bowlers laughed and said I would hate it after playing Crown for such a long time. But the Australian club level flat is far different from the UK. A lot younger crowd and far more difficult to play on the fast greens. The bowlers play more often and are very good and I wasn’t very good and got the bug immediately. If I play a sport I am very competitive and I want to achieve the best I can and so set out to be a much better bowler with the help of Rick.
NS – Have you played representative bowls and if so who for and tell me a bit what it felt like to be selected for the team?
Yes I have been fortunate enough to play for Qld on quite a few occasions. The first time I played second for Carmen Anderson and we won the Australian Sides. When that letter arrived I shed a tear as I couldn’t believe I had made it. The last time I was selected I played skip and felt so very privileged this time I was shocked when I opened the letter as the state seemed to be concentrating on the younger bowlers and I thought I would be waiting until I was 60 lol. To be awarded the role of Skip for your State is a position very few are afforded and I was so proud. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I put a lot of hard work into my bowls with training etc. And then when you start to achieve good wins as a result of that hard work its nice for your state to recognise it with selection.
NS – What position do you usually play? Although when I started bowling I led I very soon had to move up to Skip as I joined a small club. I now mainly Skip. I love to lead if I get asked it makes a refreshing change.
NS – Do you enter in as many tournaments as you can, or are you restricted by work/family/home life etc?
I enter the ones as close to home as possible due to the cost of travel. However I have a few on the calendar like Moama and St Johns Park that I wouldn’t miss so save up for them each year. We are lucky on the sunshine Coast. With our lovely weather and lots of active clubs we can bowl every day if we choose to. We also have a strong ladies District and we have District Comps and District Challenge matches so they keep us busy as well.
NS – What club do you play for and have you played for anyone else in the past?
I play for Club Kawana a very dynamic club full of top players and coaches close to where I live our nickname is the Thunder and our fantastic supporters certainly keep that name going. In the past I have played for Noosa Heads and Pacific Paradise.
NS – Have you met anyone on the green that you’ve made a lifelong friendship from and on the other side is bowls a place where enemies can be made easily do you think?
I have met many people who I know will be life long friends and from all over Australia. Facebook is a wonderful tool for keeping in touch with them. Yes of course enemies can made in bowls but isn’t that life? The tall poppy syndrome exists in a lot of clubs unfortunately and instead of being happy for the success of the individuals and the recognition it brings to the club, members can be jealous and hold a grudge. Hope fully that is only a small minority and in general most players support and enjoy each others achievements.
NS – Who is the best bowler you have seen or played against?
Ryan Bester amazes me with his skill I have played against him and enjoyed watching him.
NS – What areas do you see bowls moving forward in over the next 5-20 years?
I think the age 40 to 60 needs to be nurtured. There are some fantastic bowlers sitting in this age gap that are just waiting for an opportunity at representative level etc. Its great to see so many youngsters in the game and we have worked hard to make this happen over the past few years but I think the other end now needs to grow so that clubs can survive.
NS – Do you enjoy watching the game or do you prefer playing it?
Of course playing is my passion, but I can sit and watch a good game anyday of the week. I love it. I used to be glued to the BBC TV on a Saturday what a shame it finished!
NS – Have you managed any pennant sides over the years?
Yes I have managed Div 1 men’s pennant and also helped with selection of that team. Although it was enjoyable it doesn’t give you time to really watch all of a game as you are up and down every five minutes either doing the score board dishing out lollies or gopher for the drinks lol. Thoroughly enjoyed it though.
NS – What is the single biggest reason you play the sport?
I play this sport because it is addictive. You think you’ve mastered it and play like a champion then you go out and get flogged and play like a novice and its back to the drawing board I don’t think ill ever tire of it. Thanks for the chat 🙂