A spritely 93-year-old Ern Watkins from Sawtell bowling with the assistance of a mechanical arm.
A spritely 93-year-old Ern Watkins from Sawtell bowling with the assistance of a mechanical arm.

Life begins at 60

By GREG WHITE

IF 93-year-old Sawtell lawn bowler Ernie Watkins can do it, what's stopping you?

The venerable Mr. Watkins was on the Park Beach greens recently, one of up to 70 over - 60's sporting gentlemen who gather monthly for their favourite recreational pursuit.

"Ernie's got some hot competition out there," association president Ian Nelson said, pointing out some others giving their 90's a nudge.

"Bowls has become much more a young persons game but on days like this we can still enjoy some fun with our own vintage."

Also keeping a keen eye on the action was vice president, Sawtell's Ray Grandemange who said five clubs in the District participate in the monthly over 60's competition.

"Sawtell, West Coffs, Coffs Ex-Services Park Beach and Red Rock are presently taking part," he said.

"The Woolgoolga bowlers play under the Ex-Services banner but we'd like to think at some stage they can can join us under their own steam."

What's most surprising is this is the group's silver anniversary year and while it hasn't totally slipped under the radar president Nelson believes many club members may not realise they're eligible to take part.

"A 60th birthday can go past before they know it," he grinned.

"All they need do is be a bowling club member, pay a $5 joining fee then turn up each month."

The May outing is the annual Challenge Shield event against Bellinger Valley to be played at Urunga.

"Each of the member clubs have a vice president like myself who is the contact person for the over 60's association," Ray Grandemange revealed.

"Contact us and we'll get them playing.

"If Ernie can do it," he said pointing towards the spritely 93-year-old, busily laying down a shot with his mechanical arm, "so can they".



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