Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Kyabram's Greg Shilling has a day to remember

Kyabram lawn bowler won the Goulburn Valley Champions of Champions men's singles and was named Campaspe Shire Sportsperson of the Year onthe same day.

January 29, 2014 4:33am

Kyabram Bowls Club's Greg Shilling had a amazing Australia Day in 2014. In the morning he was named both Kyabram and Campaspe Sportsperson of the Year. In the afternoon he won the Goulburn Valley Champion of Champions men's singles title.

Hours after being crowned Campaspe Shire’s sportsperson of the year, Kyabram lawn bowler Greg Shilling rolled his way to a Goulburn Valley championship.

The win was his second Goulburn Valley Champion of Champions title, having previously won in 2002.

Shilling said he felt emotionally drained and a little nervous, as Shepparton Golf opponent Mitch Sidebottom jumped to a 6-0 lead.

‘‘I felt tired and I started slowly,’’ he said.

After winning an end and control of the mat, Shilling changed lengths, steadying to trail 5-7.

Sidebottom extended his lead to 12-6, again having Shilling on the ropes.

From there, Shilling turned the tide, finding his rhythm to score the next 21 shots to claim the crown 27-12.

Shilling said he was thrilled to claim the crown.

‘‘It was a really good game of bowls. My opponent had played a game in the morning, while I had a walkover because my morning opponent (Mooroopna Golf’s Laurie McCarty) was involved in a car accident,’’ he said.

‘‘He admitted that it helped him in the early stage.’’

In the morning, a crowd of Kyabram bowlers gathered to celebrate with Shilling as he won the Campaspe Shire’s Sportsperson of the Year.

With the Champion of Champions finals on the same day, Shilling was not going to attend the Kyabram Australia Day ceremony, except for a call for members to attend.

‘‘We were told that the club was going to be honoured for its work with this year’s centenary. Otherwise I would have been travelling to play bowls,’’ he said.

‘‘I had no idea I had won until they started reading out a piece about me.’’

Shilling said the Campaspe Shire award was the highlight of his bowls career.

‘‘It recognises your achievements over a length of time, while the champion of champions recognises your achievements over a couple of weeks,’’ he said.

‘‘The shire award is the highlight of my bowls career, but the win in the afternoon was not far behind it.’’

The double success on Australia Day caps a remarkable return to the sport after being diagnosed with bowel and liver cancer four years ago.

Shilling said the support of Kyabram Bowls Club helped his recovery.

‘‘Having the support of the club helped me greatly. I could not have achieved this without the club,’’ he said.

Shilling will contest the regional final against the champions from Murray Valley and Central Victorian associations.

A win at the regional level will allow him to compete in the Victorian finals in Bendigo in April.

Shilling will hope to better his fourth place finish in the 2002 Victorian finals.

‘‘You need the stars to align to do well at that level, as the best bowlers are competing,’’ he said.

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