The Family Proving Bowls is a Game for All Generations

by Team BV

When it comes to families who play lawn bowls together, the typical assumption is that a parent or grandparent has brought along their kin to learn their favourite sport. When it comes to families who play lawn bowls together, the typical assumption is that a parent or grandparent has brought along their kin to learn their favourite sport. However, bowls is increasingly a sport for everyone, and if one enthusiastic family of bowlers at Carrum Bowls Club is anything to go by, young people are more than capable of recruiting older generations to the game they love.

Having joined Carrum Bowls Club in March this year, Roseann and Graeme Firth now bowl up to five times each week, participating in informal practice sessions, social games and soon, Pennant competitions. Somewhat surprisingly it was granddaughters Shailey Reeves and Keira Powell (cousins) who inspired the couple to try their hand at bowls.
Shailey and Keira were introduced to the sport of bowls in 2017 at Chelsea Heights Primary School through the school’s bowls program, run by Kingsley Ellis from Carrum Bowls Club. From there the girls began attending the Bowls Club’s Friday night sessions run by Kingsley and a dedicated group of volunteers.
“With both the girls’ mothers working, I became the facilitator and was soon introduced to Carrum’s wonderful members and culture,” Roseann explains. “When Graeme retired at the start of this year we were looking for something we could do together, and the friendly atmosphere at Carrum encouraged us to give bowls a try – despite Graeme’s initial reluctance!”
A newfound passion 
While Roseann’s first time playing social bowls was “a big eye opener”, nothing could dent her enthusiasm. “My preparation had been watching my granddaughters bowl and I soon discovered there was a bit more to this enchanting game than I’d initially realised. Obviously all my wide and narrow bowls were blamed on that Carrum sea breeze!”
After enlisting the help of “Dr Google’s internet and club volunteer Kelvin’s expertise and generosity”, Roseann was quickly up to speed. “I am now much better equipped to take on the challenges of line, length, green speed and of course, the Carrum sea breeze,” she says.
Before long, all four family members had discovered a passion for both Carrum Bowls Cub and the sport itself. Indeed, the family connection doesn’t end there. Shailey’s parents Jim and Jo, along with younger siblings Declan and Tilley, are all social members, as are Keira’s parents Ian and Lindy and younger sister Elise. “The Taylor junior bowls are set for a good workout now that the weather is improving,” Roseann jokes.
These days it’s difficult to keep Roseann and Graeme away from the club. “As a City of Frankston bowler, Graeme’s mother Ethel wasn’t fond of the sea breeze at Carrum, where the greens are ‘sheltered’ by the sand dunes of Port Phillip Bay, but we love the fresh salt air and happily walk the greens rather than the beach as we had done previously,” she says.
“I wouldn’t miss a Social Bowls event and the Pre-Pennant Practice games against other clubs have been just as much fun. Even though I am a little nervous about Pennant, I’m looking forward to another chapter in my Bowls journey,” she adds.

Friendly rivalry 
And what about the family rivalry, is it friendly or fierce? “Fifty years of physical work have ensured that Graeme’s surfing and wakeboarding activities are confined to the category of ‘the older I get the better I was’. We are both enjoying the challenge of acquiring new skills on the green as well as trying to remember everyone’s names,” Roseann jokes.
“Shailey and Keira are now gearing up for their first Pennant season and are keen to talk up their bowling prowess against their grandparents, although their interest in polishing their own bowls is met with less enthusiasm!”
Roseann also takes great delight in seeing her granddaughters’ bond through lawn bowls. “Shailey is a sports nut, while Keira has always been more interested in her painting, but bowls provides a pathway they can travel together, and it has brought them very close,” she says.