Success for Miles: Victorian State Bowler Encourages Women to Aim High

by Kalon Huett (BV Contributor)

As the eldest state-level bowler currently representing Victoria, and one of the most senior rep players from all states across Australia, 65-year-old Anne Miles from Yarrawonga Mulwala (YMGCR) Bowls Club is an inspiration to her generation, and a leading example of bowls’ universal appeal and unique suitability to diverse demographics.

Anne’s bowling career began at Alexandra Bowling Club in 1995 when a friend invited her to give the game a go. Her parents and brother were all champion bowlers, so at the age of 42 Anne belatedly started her journey of following in their footsteps.

“From the moment I put my first bowl down I was hooked!” she says.

Now 23 years later, the Bowls Vic Medal winner is recognised as a Victorian bowls champion in her own right. In 2016, Anne won the Steller Victorian Open Women’s Triples with Claire Sanders and Laureen Smith – two of her ‘best buddies’ in the sport – while recently she received the player of the series award for the Victoria v South Australia Interstate Test Series held at Moama Bowls Club.

“I’m proud of all my achievements but most of all I love that I found bowls and I am still able to play with my friends and teammates at a competitive level,” Anne says.

“Most of my fellow state players could be my daughters or even granddaughters! That’s the beauty of bowls, it’s a game for everyone regardless of age. I feel very thankful that Bowls Victoria selectors have given me the opportunity to play at this level and I hope my success provides incentive for top older players to keep on trying to achieve their goals.”

Unlike some other activities, age and gender are not barriers to enjoying bowls socially or competitively, according to Anne.

“I think everyone has just as much chance as each other to achieve success in bowls. Because bowls is not a strenuous physical sport it enables everyone to give it a go. Where else in sport do you see such amazing opportunities for so many different types of people?” she says. “Here in the Ovens and Murray Region we have had open Pennant for quite a few years, and I believe we have now reached the stage that men and women are just considered equal as bowlers.”

In addition to focusing on her playing career, Anne spends plenty of time in a coaching role at YMGCR Bowls Club, where she mainly assists new bowlers and sometimes coaches experienced bowlers.

“I guess what I like most about coaching is seeing the enjoyment people get out of the game and seeing them make headway with their delivery and consistency,” she says.

“Whether someone is considering bowls for social interaction or to potentially reach a higher level, my message to all women is to just do it! Bowls has provided me with a network of friends from all walks of life. Every day is always a new challenge, which is probably what I like most. Bowls is never mundane.”