Judy Davey and Family on a Lifelong Winning Streak

by Kalon Huett (BV Contributor)

Judy Davey played her first ever game of lawn bowls in 1993 at Moreland Bowls Club. A quarter of a century later, she competes at and for Aberfeldie Community Bowls Club (having joined in 2017) and is also the Chair of Bowls Victoria’s State Selection Committee.

So how did her rewarding bowls story begin and what has made the game so special for so long? In a word – family.

“I had grown up watching my mother, father and younger brother play bowls and finally decided to give it a go myself. I had just undergone back surgery and I asked my brother (Darren Yates) to show me how to play this ‘stupid game’,” Judy laughs.

“Darren was the first person to show me what to do, his knowledge of the game is brilliant and I continue to learn from him. He’s great to play bowls with as he gets the best out of his teammates. And I can confidently say that myself, Darren and Jordan (Jordan Yates – Judy’s nephew) have been the lucky ones to have a mentor like ‘Poppy’ (Jim Yates – Judy and Darren’s father) – who is a lawn bowls legend in his own right – watching us all become championship winners like him.”

Jim Yates won the Australian Singles in 1979 and World Pairs in 1988, as well as playing over 200 games for Victoria and coaching the state for a couple of years.

Triple treat

As recently as March the family combined to win three major medals in a single week. Judy won a Country Pennant Flag in Bendigo followed by a Division 2 title with Aberfeldie Community Bowls Club (ACBC) in Bowls Victoria’s Metropolitan Pennant Competition, where she played in the same rink as Darren, who is also the Head Coach and has represented Victoria.

Meanwhile young Jordan was part of Essendon Bowls Club’s victory at the Taylor Bowls Premier Division Title – the top title in Metropolitan Pennant. Jordan has played at under 18 and under 25 level for Victoria and is the current Australian Fours Champion. In 2016 he won the prestigious Junior Golden Nugget at Tweed Heads Bowls Club.

“The whole family celebrated those victories together, and we were even there to watch each other’s success as the action unfolded. Mum used to play, dad’s still playing for Glenroy and they both watch us all play regularly. While neither my sister nor partner play bowls, they have heard that much about it they speak as though they are experts on the sport! There are very few family functions where bowls isn’t the topic of conversation,” she says.

“Jordan has loved bowls since he was eight years old and he has continued to impress the family with his ability. Dad and Darren have really helped him develop his game, but as a very close-knit family, I’d like to think he has learnt a little from all of us. We’ve all played in the same Pennant team for Glenroy. I am one very proud aunty, I love that he has the passion for bowls that we all do.”

All about the teams

Judy is naturally delighted with her role in recent team success stories.

“Winning the flag with the Bendigo East Premiership Team left me feeling quite emotional, they’ve welcomed me into the regional bowls circuit with open arms. I am lucky enough to consider my teammates as lifelong friends. The calibre of bowlers in the Bendigo region is high, so to have been picked in such a successful team was an honour,” she says.

“At ACBC we entered this season with the goal of staying in Division 2, so to make into finals was a dream come true. We may not have a team of champions but we play like a champion team. ACBC is a very family orientated club. In our Premiership Team, we had a father and son combo as well as Darren and myself. Playing with family is priceless. We have a typical brother/sister love-hate relationship, but there’s really nothing better than sharing a victory with family.”

Winning is wonderful, but Judy enjoys just about every element of the bowls lifestyle.

“I love keeping active and being involved in all levels of bowls,” she says. “As Chairperson of Selectors for the Ladies State Squad I get the opportunity to share my knowledge and assist others to reach their goals in the sport. I get to work alongside three other selectors to trial, train and pick the best 12 we see fit to represent our state. I love watching people progress in the sport, having played a lot of games for the state I know just how special it feels to wear the uniform.”

Want to know more about Aberfeldie Community Bowls Club? Visit the club website.