From Hervey Bay to Club Kawana, with Queensland and Australia in-between. Read our player profile on Marilyn Emerton from Club Kawana and how she still loves bowling after 35 years.
I started playing bowls in 1982 at Hervey Bay Bowls Club. We (my late husband) and I were introduced to lawn bowls while we were playing tennis. The sport appealed to us and we quickly adapted to becoming bowlers.
We were coached by state rep, Max Fish. He was a great coach and it didn’t take long before we were sought after to play lead for some very good teams. I continued to lead for 15 years and never wanted to play anywhere else.
Three years later we moved to Brisbane and that’s where it all took off for me. I was selected in all the challenge matches, which was quite an honour back then, and before too long I was included in the State Side 1990. I continued to play for Queensland until just a few years ago.
I was selected to play for Australia which was an enormous thrill, as I had worked very hard on my game. I practiced at every opportunity and challenged myself regularly. The team went to Royal Leamington Spa in England to contest the World titles and I came home with a gold medal.
I continued to play for both Queensland and Australia with very good success. I won gold medals in the Asia Pacific Championships in Two Bowl Triples and Fours. I also played Trans-Tasman, Commonwealth Games and brought home more medals. When I was selected to play singles for Australia in the Asia Pacific Championships, I thought nothing could come near to that. However, I also won the right to represent Australia in the World Indoor Championships in Ireland, where I went through to the finals.
I had a great deal of success playing with my old mate, the now departed Ken Luck. We won Club Mixed Pairs, District Mixed Pairs and the State Mixed Pairs. The best win for us was the National Mixed Pairs, which was fantastic as it carried with it a holiday in Europe, a purse of $6,000 along with bowls bags and many of other things including a holiday in Western Australia.
State Singles, State Pairs, State Fours, Champ of Champ Singles, Champ of Champ Pairs and Champ of Champ Fours are among a few of my Queensland achievements. I have also won numerous National titles including Australian Pairs, Australian Fours and was Runner Up in Australian Singles.
Having played for Queensland and Australia for as long as I have, I have amassed a lot of medals. The agony of this is, when I die I don’t know what will become of them.
I have only been a member of Club Kawana for just over a year, and it is a great club to belong to. I am made to feel right at home in this club. Members have embraced me and have made me most welcome.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time playing Premier League for Club Kawana this year. Thanks go to Kurt for selecting me to lead for him and having the faith in me to do the job.
As a coach, I would strongly recommend that anyone aspiring to succeed in this sport needs to put in a lot of hard work. Practice, practice, practice.
I have been asked on several occasions why some people make it and some people don’t. I often advise people to put in the hard yards and usually the results speak for themselves.
In my case, I was watching an interview with Ivan Lendl the tennis player, early in my career, and he was asked what made him stand out from the rest. He said, “I am not a natural so I have to work twice as hard as anyone else”. This was something that struck a chord with me, as I thought if I am a natural, but worked as hard as I could, then I could become really good.
I have had a few mentors in my time and also looked up to a lot of good bowlers and usually received good guidance.
The game has changed a lot since I started, and the bowls, as well as the greens are no longer what they were, but the love of the sport keeps me going and the challenges ahead are still as possible as they ever were.
Thirty five years is a long time to play the one sport, but it will always be on the top of the list for me.