BONNIE Legin has won just about every lawn bowls competition
going – locally, regionally and the pinnacle of them all, the Victorian Champion of Champions back in 1981.
She tried to get her eldest son Michael (Mick) interested in the game about 16 years ago, however, he was too busy with his work, family commitments and other sporting interests at the time.
Golf, inter-club snooker and billiards were Mick’s main sporting pursuits for many years, and he represented Sunraysia in all three at different country tournaments across Victoria and South Australia.
Mick’s other main pastime was scuba diving in the Murray and Darling rivers, searching for old bottles.
“For the 20 years I was diving, my diving partner and I collected thousands of bottles that have pride of place throughout the house,” Mick said.
He said that because Bonnie was unable to get him involved in lawn bowls, she focused on his son Michael, then aged nine.
“Michael joined in with a group of young students who were being coached by his grandmother at the Coomealla Bowling Club,” Mick said.
“Michael used to play social bowls with the adults when he was 10 or 11.
“It was that time we relocated to Mildura and his grandmother joined him up at the Mildura Working Man’s Bowling Club (MWMBC) where she was a member.
“When Michael turned 15, he made the very difficult decision to concentrate on his lawn bowls over his football and cricket sporting passions.
“He started off in second division pennant with Workers and went ahead in leaps and bounds.
“He was promoted into first division pretty much straight away.
“It was around that time that he and Adrian Barko won the Victorian state Under 18 pairs, and he was then invited to join the Victorian state squad.
“They played some serious, competitive lawn bowls throughout the state and Michael ended up playing in the test series against NSW and South Australia.
“When he was only 17, he ended up third in the state in the Under 30 division, which was a fantastic effort.
“At this time Michael became the youngest skipper of a first division pennant side in Sunraysia and soon after he was one of the skippers who won the Division One pennant that year.
“Michael has also won four singles titles at the MWMBC along with being skipper in winning triples and fours club championships.”
Michael went on to win the Sunraysia Champion of Champions when he was 17 and also the zone final that year.
He’s now considered the second best lawn bowler in Sunraysia.
Michael turned 25 in May this year and prior to that was a member of the Under 25 state development squad.
“A big achievement for Michael was his recent selection as skip for a Victorian country side to compete against South Australia in a four test series in mid-August,” Mick said.
But after his mother’s prompting, Mick also took up the sport.
“After I’d retired from teaching at TAFE and Latrobe University, I decided to start playing corporate lawn bowls at the Mildura Bowling Club with some fellow members of the Rotary Club of Mildura,” he said.
“I played my first game in December 2010.
“Shortly after that I became a member or the MWMBC and started playing regularly in their social games.
“I suspected I’d like the game and felt confident I could do reasonably well at it.
For more of this story, purchase your copy of Saturday's Sunraysia Daily 22/09/2012.