A fixture of bowls in Monto
Reminiscing on 45 years at the club
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.”
STILL GOT IT: John James is the games director, selector and longest serving member of the Monto Bowls Club.