IT’S father versus son in division one.
When Ballarat Memorial Sports and Ballarat East face off for the Ballarat District Bowls division one title at Sebastopol Bowling Club on Sunday, the Ryan clan will have a foot in both camps.
Jeff, 62, will skip for the Diggers. Meanwhile son Mark, 41, will play second for the double blues.
“Dad used to be an ‘Easty’,” Mark said. “He was all for synthetics though, and so he decided to move to BMS.
“He called over to the club (Ballarat East) last Sunday. There was a bit of banter backwards and forwards.
“He’s actually still a social member at East.”
Naturally, it was Jeff who got Mark into bowls in the first place, inviting his son down for a roll at East.
“I was in the army from 1990 to 1996,” Mark said. “In 1995, I came down on leave and he asked me over for a roll at East.
“When I left the army in 1996, I started playing pennant there.
“I started in the bottom division for two or three weeks. I then went up and I think after about six or seven weeks. I was in the same side but not the same team.”
Jeff says he is glad he “dragged” Mark into bowls.
“I would do that with anyone,” Jeff said. “Bowls is a sport for everybody. It doesn’t matter what your age is.”
While at East, Jeff was in the side which won the division two premiership that saw the two blues promoted into division one. He was also club champion there.
As much as Jeff enjoyed his time at Bradshaw Street, he says BMS was probably a better fit for him even if East still suits Mark more.
“East is a younger person’s club, while BMS is more a family club,” Jeff said.
Since shifting to BMS, Jeff has played in two winning pennant sides, in division four and division one, and won the club championship twice.
Mark says his “old man” makes a fairly formidable opponent.
“My skipper, Peter Dean, is also my cousin,” Mark said. “He would rather play any other player in an opposition team than the old man.
“He’s a very good player. We’d love to have him back here, if he ever wants to.”
For his part, Jeff, agrees it is a good thing father and son have not been drawn to play each other.
“I’m pretty competitive,” he laughs. “I’m not one for showing a lot of mercy, even for him (Mark).
Jeff’s wife, and Mark’s mum Bethyl, has already won a pennant medal this season, as part of BMS’s midweek division four team.
And Mark’s five year old daughter Kiri, has also had a roll. “She will be East, not BMS,” Mark said.