Clunes bowler’s 50-season milestone

A veteran Clunes lawn bowler is celebrating 50 years on the green.

CELEBRATING A MILESTONE: Clunes veteran bowler John Millar is celebrating 50 years with the Clunes Bowling Club. He first took to the green at 30. Picture: Dylan Burns.

CELEBRATING A MILESTONE: Clunes veteran bowler John Millar is celebrating 50 years with the Clunes Bowling Club. He first took to the green at 30. Picture: Dylan Burns.

John Millar will play his 50th season of pennant bowls with the Clunes Bowling Club in the 2017/18 season.

Mr Millar was awarded for his commitment to the club.

He celebrated the achievement by bowling the first ball on the green at the official opening of the club’s season on Saturday September 16.

A certificate of achievement said his 50 years bowling at the one club was a milestone that was “unlikely to be matched”.

I feel pretty good for a bloke my age.

Clunes lawn bowler John Millar

Mr Millar said he first began bowling at age 30, after a colleague encouraged him to try the sport. 

“I came down on a Sunday and as soon as I started I got hooked on it. I wasn’t too bad the first few bowls” he said.

“I wish I could bowl now like I did then.”

But Mr Millar said he was one of few men his age at the club when he first joined, as lawn bowls was generally considered an ‘old man’s game’ at the time.

Over his years at the club, Mr Millar has seen an increasing number of younger players take to the green, some as young as nine or 10 years old. 

Now with over 50 members, he said the club has the best membership it has had for years. 

“We have got three or four new bowlers and four or five who have been away at other clubs and have come back to us,” he said.

“I’d like to see the club keep going ahead. It’s going ahead good now.”

Mr Millar said he has competed in many finals, but winning the club championship in 1997/98 was the highlight of his 50 years bowling.

In recent years, Mr Millar has had to re-learn the technique of game as he transitioned to using a bowler’s arm.

He began using the metal assistant device around 10 years ago when bending became too painful for his back. The bowler’s arm picks up and releases the ball. 

“It is a different ball game when you have got an arm to play with instead of putting the bowl down,” Mr Millar said. 

At age 80, Mr Millar still loves taking to the green.

“I feel pretty good for a bloke my age,” he said.

“I still enjoy the game even though I am not as good as I used to be.”

Mr Millar enjoyed his 80th birthday celebrations with family and friends at the Clunes Bowling Club clubhouse on Sunday. 

The lawn bowls pennant season starts in October. Pennant is played on Saturday and Monday from October until March. 

Clunes Bowling Club is one of Victoria’s oldest bowling clubs. It was first established in 1878. 

This story Bowler’s 50-season milestone first appeared on The Advocate - Hepburn.