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Bowlers' blindess no barrier

Melbourne-based visually impaired bowlers travelled to Mooroopna yesterday for a social game with local members.

MATTHEW GALEA February 26, 2014 4:10am

Mike Donnelly checks out how the bowls lie.


Mooroopna Golf played host to a number of the state’s best blind bowlers for a day of social bowls on Sunday.

Fifteen blind bowlers from Melbourne and its surrounds travelled to play a 14-end game of triples, with 20 of Mooroopna Golf’s members also participating in the day.

The club put on a barbecue and afternoon tea, paid for by the playing members, raising $250 which went to the Blind Bowls Association.

‘‘We just make up teams with them and our members on the day and play just to give them a game,’’ club president Faye Wheelhouse said.

‘‘They go around to different clubs once a month, but they come up to Mooroopna Golf every February.

‘‘It’s more of a social day for them to come and play and meet up with the other blind bowlers, because a lot of them don’t live near each other in Melbourne.’’

Among the blind bowlers playing was the club’s own Mike Donnelly, who got to play alongside Wes Johns, who he won pairs gold with at last year’s Australian Blind Bowls Championships.

Donnelly and Johns will be defending the title at this year’s championships, which start in late April, and Donnelly said that these social events served as a great opportunity to catch up with some of his fellow Victorian teammates.

‘‘Some of them play every week in Melbourne, but it’s too far for some of us,’’ Donnelly said.

‘‘It’s a great occasion because other than state games, I don’t get to catch up with these people, so it’s great to see them, renew acquaintances and even talk tactics.’’

Also among the travelling blind bowlers was Maree Fenech, an Australian champion, who is completely blind.

Len O’Brien, the president of Blind Bowls Victoria, was also in attendance.

‘‘They couldn’t get over how good the greens were up here,’’ Donnelly said.

Wheelhouse said the day was always an enjoyable one for the club, adding it was nice to be able to offer the blind bowlers the chance to catch up, while also raising money for them.

‘‘We always enjoy having them, and we always get people coming down to watch how they bowl,’’ Wheelhouse said.

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