A fix­ture of bowls in Monto

Reminiscing on 45 years at the club

Central and North Burnett Times - - SPORT - Macken­zie Co­la­han Macken­zie.Co­la­han@cnbtimes.com.au

LAWN BOWLS: Re­tired dairy and cat­tle farmer John James, 80, is prac­ti­cally part of the fur­ni­ture at the Monto Bowls Club.

The club’s long­est serv­ing mem­ber joined 45 years ago, and has sat on the com­mit­tee for 35 of them.

As games di­rec­tor, James is re­spon­si­ble for se­lect­ing teams for so­cial play and co-or­di­nat­ing the club’s larger com­pet­i­tive car­ni­vals.

It’s a wel­come change from run­ning cat­tle, and one James said he thor­oughly en­joyed.

“I love the ca­ma­raderie of these coun­try clubs. There’s a great fel­low­ship amongst the play­ers,” James said.

“That goes for all bowls clubs re­ally, I haven’t been to a bad one yet.”

The for­mer pro­pri­etor of Monto Cat­tle and Coun­try started op­er­at­ing the lo­cal sa­le­yards in 1963 and ran cat­tle on a prop­erty out­side town un­til his re­tire­ment.

He down­sized to a smaller block on Air­port Rd a decade ago and plays bowls ev­ery chance he gets.

A keen sports­man, James grew up in Monto with his mate Ron Hamp­son and the two played cricket and ten­nis to­gether all their lives.

As they grew older and it be­came too phys­i­cally de­mand­ing they de­cided to join the bowls club.

James has en­joyed his fair share of suc­cess over the years and his name is now up on the club’s honour boards 30-odd times.

Many close friend­ships and great mem­o­ries have been forged on the greens, the fond­est be­ing his sin­gles car­ni­val vic­to­ries.

“I’ve been lucky enough to have three good mates with me the whole time I’ve played,” James said.

Hamp­son’s ill-health forced him to give bowls away 12 months ago, end­ing the sport­ing part­ner­ship.

James said it was not the same with­out him, but he did not plan on stop­ping any time soon.

“There’s noth­ing bet­ter than a game of bowls with your mates,” he said.

“My hip has been giv­ing me a bit of trou­ble but I’ve still got a few years left in me.”

PHOTO: MACKEN­ZIE CO­LA­HAN

STILL GOT IT: John James is the games di­rec­tor, se­lec­tor and long­est serv­ing mem­ber of the Monto Bowls Club.

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