Bowls: 600 games beckons for Midlands Golf’s Jim Ross

SPECIAL: Jim Ross’s first club championship with Midlands Golf Bowling Club remains a highlight. Picture: Daniel Hartley-AllenJIM Ross rocked up to Midlands Golf Bowling Club with two borrowed bowls in a plastic bag in 1974, and he has been there ever since.”I’ve played nearly all my bowls in 35 years as a two,” the 75-year-old said.”I never won a thing until this came out of the blue and I won a club championship after 30 years of bowling. “Myself as well as others thought, `How did he win that?’ I didn’t ever think I was ever good enough to win a club championship and then I came out again and won it a few years later which was a real thrill.”That was in the 2001-02 and 2004-05 Ballarat Regional Bowls Association seasons.The first club championship was a special moment for Ross.”I won one trophy once _ I was most consistent footballer in the B-grade (at Imperials) _ that’s the only trophy I’ve ever won. “And when I won my first club championship they said, `What would you like for a trophy?’ “I said, `I want the biggest trophy you can get’. “I’ve got the two plaques on it (for both club championships). “There’s room for another one but I don’t think I’ll ever get that _ coming up to 76 I don’t think there’s another club championship in me.”His playing career could be summed up with the last two days’ weather _ boiling hot one day, raining the next.”I’m a bit of a hot and cold bowler _ I can be good or I can be bad,” Ross said. “I was a good draw bowler, mainly a draw bowler … I’d been asked to be a skipper but I never wanted to be a skip. “I just liked that cozy little spot of No.2 where I could draw a shot and have a little bit of a yard on maybe.”While many bowlers strive for the power of a skipper, Ross has been content utilising his draw shot to try and help the team, and side, to victory.But that all changed this season.”This year they said to me, `How about a go as skipper? We’re short of skippers.’ “And I said I’d give it a go. I’ve only had three games as skipper _ the first one was washed out; the second was on the carpet down at BMS, where we got a whopping; and last week we had a big win, so I had me first win as a skipper last week (against Daylesford in division four). “I said to the selectors: `I just want one win as a skipper and you can do what you like with me, I just want to be able to say I had a win as a skipper’.” Tomorrow, the retired production supervisor from The Courier will play his 597th game for Midlands Golf, and if all goes well he should bring up his 600th against Victoria on January 30.”I was hoping to get to the 600,” Ross said.”Last year I wasn’t that well _ I had a bit of a balance problem _ and I was useless and I thought my days might be over. “But I overcame that and I’m bowling as good as I reckon I have for a while at the moment, which is good.”Despite playing for Midlands Golf his whole career, Ross has never played 18 holes of the game that adorns his club’s name.But he did enjoy his football days at Imperials, and then North Ballarat, plying his trade across the half-back flank and making forwards earn their marks, mostly in the seconds.Like many, he took up the game of bowls when asked to fill in.”I was working in the bar at the old club and a chap I worked with was the old advertising manager, he said: `Why don’t you have a go? We’re a bit short.'”I liked it and went and bought a set of Henselites, secondhand ones, for 20 pounds _ a bit different now to $600-$700 for coloured ones.”And it was with those bowls that he won his two club championships.
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