GEORGE Arthur has played anywhere between 1000 and 1200 bowls matches in pennant competition. His son Glenn has clocked up about 300.
Between them, they make up half of one of Avenue’s four Ballarat Geelong premier division teams. It was last year the pair decided to sit down and work out how many pennant matches George, 72, had actually played. They agreed the number might be closer to 1200.
“It’s hard to get the figures because a bowls season might be 18 games or more, plus finals, so I would have played somewhere over 1000 pennant matches over those 50 years. It may be closer to 1200 matches,” George says. “I started playing bowls when I was 22. This is my 50th year and I celebrate it by just playing more bowls.
“When I started playing no one my age played bowls. I reckon I started the whole family off. There was a bowls club over our side fence when we lived in Bankstown in Sydney. After I went over the fence to play, my father, my elder brother and my mother also started playing bowls.”
That started a lifelong love of the game which is now being passed from generation to generation. Over his 50 years, George estimates he has won close to 100 championships at club, district and state level.
After playing in New South Wales and Queensland, George moved to Bacchus Marsh in 1989, and joined Bacchus Marsh Bowling Club. He joined Avenue six years ago and was president in his first year at the club.
Given George’s passion for the sport, it was perhaps inevitable son Glenn would also also play. When Glenn moved to Bacchus Marsh in 1996 he joined his father at the Bacchus Marsh Bowls Club, and followed him to Avenue.
“All I can remember as a kid was dad playing bowls,” Glenn, now 51, says. “When I came down and dad was at Bacchus Marsh, I started playing it a bit more seriously. We’ve played together ever since.”
It didn’t take long for Arthur junior to make his mark.
“I could see his quality as a player so I coached him,” George says. “In his second year he was already in division one, and probably in his third season he was a skipper.”
While at Bacchus Marsh, Glenn and George, along with Rod Keith and Leo Sizeland, went all the way from the district fours right up the state play-offs at Corowa and made the semi-finals. There is now effectively a fourth generation of Arthur bowler. Glenn’s son is Tanner Dickson-Arthur, now at Sebastopol.
During the Arthurs’ time at Avenue, the club has grown in strength, and has had success in a lot of divisions.
George says Avenue thrives on being a Bacchus Marsh club in the Ballarat District Bowls Division.
“To me, we’re like a West Coast or Freo in that very second week we have to travel,” he says. “The club seems to be able to take that into its stride and I think that makes us a tighter group.
“We want to win premier division. My warning to the rest of the comp is don’t think you are having an easy game against Avenue this week. Because we are in it to win it.”