Meet the 9-year-old ready to play pennant
What came out of Amity Bickley’s mouth shocked her mother.
“Mum, I want to play lawn bowls,” the then 7-year-old said after a come-and-try bowls day at her school made a big impression.
“Very shocked,” her mother Carly says. “We aren’t lawn bowlers, so we were very surprised that of all sports, bowls was the one she’d want to play.”
Fast forward two years, and Amity is a bowler whose career is going places.
At just 9, Amity will make her pennant debut this season for West Rosebud Bowling Club in Division 5 against the adults.
Already Amity has been added to the Victorian under 18 squads, such is the talent and work ethic she’s displaying.
She’s part of a quality junior set-up on the Mornington Peninsula coached by well-respected Mario Dovile, alongside older Main Ridge BC duo Ethan Whitelaw and Alex Hill.
Sometimes bowls clubs can find it awkward to embrace children into the fold. Amity’s club West Rosebud has been not only a great support, but a strength in feeding her love of the game.
West Rosebud BC even bought her a brand new set of bowls to mark her pennant debut, and she’ll use them when she takes on the adults.
“The members adore her, and when she was up for her first game, everyone clapped,” West Rosebud secretary Joan Webb says after Amity’s successful stint with the adults playing winter bowls.
“She’s like a little old lady,” Joan laughs. “She’s so mature. Nothing fazes her.
“Her (bowling) style is beautiful. That’s what you notice. When you see her, she’s just so focused, and she’s just sooo good.”
Mario Dovile has been coaching for a long time. Rarely has he seen such a talent at such a young age, and that’s primarily because Amity wants to learn, and wants to listen.
“She’s lovely to coach, and she’s just so easy to coach,” he says.
“Everything you tell her, she picks it up so quickly. She just listens, and that’s such a great thing.”
Amity’s mum Carly and family attend both games and squad training religiously.
That family support, say those who work with Amity, is critical.
It’s the perfect combination of a motivated youngster with talent, a family prepared to give her the support she needs to play the sport, a club that embraces her, and quality coaching.
That learning curve will be added to, as she’s just been included in the state under-18 Silver squad.
For Amity though, it’s simple.
Like so many of us, something switched on in her head when she tried bowls for the first time.
Asked why she loves bowls, Amity says: “You don’t have to get frustrated all the time. You can just enjoy what you’re doing. It’s fun.”