Morley Bowling Club in Western Australia has a rich history in junior bowls, dating all the way back to 1988 when the club staged the first ever WA Junior Singles and Pairs Championships.
That year the pairs was won by Borden’s Brad Horton and Tambellup’s Pieter Harris, with Harris going on to play over 200 games for WA, and represent the CROWN Perth Suns in the recent BPL05 staged in New Zealand.
The Morley club has continued its press to see bowls played in schools and have actively recruited junior bowlers to their club.
Club Coach and 2016 Bowls WA Coach of Year, Ken Perks, is dedicated to seeing as many juniors playing the sport as possible.
Working with schools in the City of Bayswater area, through club programs and the Australian Sports Commissions nation-wide Sporting Schools Program, Ken has been achieving some great things for junior bowls.
North Morley, Weld Square and Noranda Primary Schools are just some of the primary schools that have been involved with Sporting Schools, as well as Morley and Hampton High Schools.
The latest protégé to come to the fore at Morley is in fact a home-grown talent, attracted to bowls through family influence.
11 year old Mason Gunson, son of club members Bryce and Angela Gunson, is in his first year of bowls, and it hasn’t taken him long to make an impact.
Club Selector Craig Hamilton said Mason played his first pennant match filling in after a late withdrawal in the Ladies Pennants competition.
“He came home with all his money intact and a bonus packets of chips, he was spoilt rotten by his opposition”, said Hamilton.
Parents Bryce and Angela are both talented players with Bryce playing in Morley’s top grade, and Angela having spent time in the WA State Development Squad, so it’s no surprise that Mason is interested and clearly very good.
Bryce and Mason accepted the opportunity to play with champion player, former Australian Under-25 representative Anthony Provost in Morley’s Club Championship Triples and it is here that history was made.
The trio made their way to the final and then survived a thrilling finish to take the title 19-18, surely making Mason, just 10 years old at that stage, one of the youngest players to win a club event, and all the more special being alongside his father.
The win showcases the wonderful family aspect of bowls; a unique feature of our sport is the ability for families to play together, across gender and age boundaries that become insignificant on the green.
Mason also reached the semi-finals of the Morley Club Fours Championship, and was runner-up in the Novice Singles event; not a bad first year of bowls.
Club President Vince Princi says we are just so proud of Mason’s achievements so far.
“For someone so young, we have managed his integration into the club carefully to ensure he has been looked after, I see big things for Mason in the future,” said President Princi.
The Morley Bowling Club continues to seek out more opportunities to coach at schools, with the ultimate dream being to establish a full junior program at their club.
The club is in the process of signing up as a Good Sports club, another step in showing its commitment to being family friendly and having a safe and welcoming atmosphere for all.
With the recent Men’s Country Week Singles Championship win by 16 year old Kaleb Walding, the youngest player ever to win the event, and the continued Premier League success of 14 year old Patrick Quinlan, who will play finals for Osborne Park this weekend, the breeding ground is certainly fruitful.
If any clubs wish to get involved with Sporting Schools, or wish to make links to schools in their area, contact your local Bowls Australia Regional Bowls Manager to assist.
Caption- The Morley Bowls Club in Western Australia is nurturing junior participation