Anneliese Abela - 7 October 2015
Their combined age is 134 and in total they have played lawn bowls for 28 years.
Bowlers Carol Boyle and Sue Coultas met each other through their shared love of bowling six years ago, but it is only now that they are playing together at the 15th Australian Masters Games.
The long time bowlers are working together in the pair’s matches this week, competing in the quarter finals this morning at Payneham.
“We’re from the same bowling club, the Hawthorn Hawks, at Hawthorn Bowling Club,” Coultas said.
“We met each other through bowls and played at different clubs; we have both participated in previous Masters Games, but never played together until now.”
“When Sue asked me to play in the Masters with her I was highly delighted because at my age group, offers get less and less,” 75-year-old Boyle said.
Both women have won gold medals in the 2011 Australian Masters Games, and believe the sport continues to gain popularity as the years go on.
“I love lawn bowls because it’s a sport for all ages and all athletic bodies, it doesn’t matter who you are,” Boyle said. “At our club we’ve had people in wheelchairs, people with artificial limbs who play with a bowling arm, blind bowlers and other disabilities, and young ones that start at ten years old – once they get hooked they can go on for years because this sport is for everyone.”
Boyle found lawn bowls after her husband was in an accident that left him semi-disabled, and she wanted to find a sport to keep him active.
“We were asked to come to a social bowls day and we said why not, and he enjoyed it, which for me was a great pleasure to see, and he’s still bowling today coaching wheelchair bowls and umpiring,” Boyle said.
“For me that was a major comfort, to see him able to join in a sport, and for us to be able to play together.”
The social aspect of lawn bowls, says Boyle, is one of the greatest benefits of the sport, with the friendships created at clubs a great support for players in times of need.
The cooler temperature today provided relief for teams, but the stronger winds and different turf provided a challenge.
“It’s a masterful game, there’s a lot of technique involved, and today has been very hard with the wind, so you need a lot of skill,” Coultas said.
Boyle held the lawn bowls banner at the Opening Ceremony on Saturday night, and was surprised and pleased at the number of lawn bowls participants this year, particularly those from interstate.
“It’s amazing, you just smile seeing so many people come together for sport,” Boyle said.
“It’s possible to meet people you’ve played against years before – you’ll see opponents across the greens, and you think hey, we’ve met before!”
And gone are the days of lawn bowls being a game just for seniors, as clubs around Australia begin new programs to attract new players of all age groups.
Despite being knocked out of the finals, their enthusiasm prevails, with Boyle preparing to head to Tasmania on Sunday for the Senior Over 60’s Bowling competition.
“We’ve had such an amazing few days here at the Masters Games, we think we’re 100% lucky to be here today.”
The 15th Australian Masters Games are being held in Adelaide, October 3-10, featuring more than 10,000 participants from across Australia and around the world.
The Australian Masters Games is proudly sponsored by the South Australian Tourism Commission through Events South Australia.
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We're heading west! The next Australian Masters Games will take place in Perth in 2021.