IT TAKES a lot of courage to stand down and let another person take the reins when in a form slump, but Paul Ashmore did exactly that when he dropped himself as one of Ballarat’s leading skippers earlier this season.
Ashmore, who has been with Ballarat since 1988, is a life member, club champion and part of several winning division one Ballarat pennant sides – but this season he has had to re-evaluate the contribution he was making to the club’s ladder-leading division one team.
“I was skipping for the club at the start of the season but dropped myself about five rounds into the season to try and find some form – it was all in the team’s best interest,” Ashmore recalled.
“There were a couple of games where myself and my rink weren’t performing up to scratch, but after I went down the order we managed to fix ourselves back up.
“I’d like to get back skipping before the finals start, but that’s up to the selectors now – if you’re going to play a sport you should try to be your best, and skipping is seen as the pinnacle of bowling.”
Ashmore was brought into the club by Ballarat stalwarts Burt Wilson and Bruce Vickers, and now, nearly 26 years later, has become a club icon in his own right.
“I’ve been a president of the club, have spent 15 years on the committee and two years ago I was made a life member, which I think is a testament of what I think of the club and what the club thinks of me,” he said.
The 55-year-old is bullish about Ballarat’s chances for taking out this season’s flag, believing that the side usually finds more form after the Christmas break.
“We’re travelling pretty well in the top division at the moment and we’re a pretty consistent club across the board, even in the lower divisions,” he said.
“Our players at Ballarat have mostly come up together – a majority of our top division bowlers are home grown and that’s something to be proud of.”
Ballarat will defend its position on the ladder when it hosts Webbcona tomorrow.