Club bowler takes on the world
From the minute the arduous state qualifying campaigns were removed from the Australian Open, it was hoped that the Australian Open would be embraced as an event that was truly open to everyone and would encourage more club bowlers to try their luck in the world’s biggest festival of bowls.
With over 2200 entries it is clear the new format has certainly been embraced by a vast array of bowlers and many Gold Coast locals didn’t want to miss the chance to compete in the world’s richest bowls event on their home soil.
Benowa’s Chris McMillian has only been playing bowls for 18 months; however he is thrilled at the possibility of coming up against some of the world’s best and never hesitated to enter every discipline at this year’s Australian Open.
“What a great chance to play the best bowlers in the world in my own backyard, as soon as I knew the Australian Open was coming to the Gold Coast I wanted to enter, even if I lose I’ll just be happy to have a go against the best,” Mr McMillian said.
Like many Gold Coast local bowlers, McMillian and his team mates will be competing in their maiden Australian Open; an opportunity to get amongst the best was too good to resist when the prestigious event was relocated to their home town, the Gold Coast.
After spending 25 years living in Japan, McMillian returned to Australia and was advised to join a bowling club to meet new people.
McMillian admitted joining a bowling club was not where he was expecting to meet people his own age but was pleasantly surprised.
Lawn Bowls is a great sport and the Benowa Bowling Club has a lot of top guys, all young friendly people who encouraged me to try the game; it didn’t take long for me to get hooked and I love how not just my own club, but all bowling clubs welcome you with open arms,” Mr McMillian said.
McMillian has not just moved up the ranks on the bowling green, starting in division eight and now part of the division two side; however after such a short time in the game he is even involving himself more in the running of the club as a member of their social committee.
McMillian may not have years of experience in the game but his enthusiasm is going a long way to getting new idea’s off the ground and ensuring visitors to the club enjoy their experience and return to the small Gold Coast Bowling Club.
Benowa Bowling Club has been chosen to host a Family Fun Day on Saturday June 20 from 1pm-4pm, mid-way through the Australian Open, for participants to bring their young families and for the local community to come and try their hand at bowls and have an enjoyable first time experience at their local bowling club.
On the day there will not only be Jr. Jack Attack set up for children to try bowls but there will also be face painting and a jumping castle to give the day a real festival like atmosphere.
McMillian believes the Family Fun Day will be a great advertisement for the Benowa Bowling Club.
“What a great idea; we thought straight away what a wonderful opportunity for Benowa to be recognized and we know that once we get people in the club and experience the friendly atmosphere they will not only enjoy themselves but they will come back,” Mr McMillian said.
We would like to wish all the Australian Open participants the best of luck, especially those competing in their first ever Australian Open; we know you will have an enjoyable experience and want to re-enter again next year!
Caption- Chris McMillian is located in the middle of the top row amongst his fellow Benowa Bowling Club members