GARY Body is the toast of the Corangamite Bowls division after triumphing in the 2017 Bowls Victoria Over 60s singles championships last week.
The Camperdown Bowling Club member represented the West Coast region at Deer Park Bowling Club in the finals on November 8 and 9.
There were 16 regions represented at the finals; eight players from Melbourne and eight from country Victoria.
Body defeated Terry Bain from Diamond Creek Bowling Club in the Yarra Region 21-16 in the final after navigating his way through the final 16 across the two days.
Body defeated Wodonga’s Bob Harbridge 21-19 and West Rosebud’s Phil Haynes 21-8 on the Wednesday, before defeating Edithvale’s John Clark 21-16 on Thursday morning to reach the final.
Body said that it was his first attempt at the event, adding that it’s a good achievement for the division any time someone wins a state title against Victoria’s best bowlers.
“Even though it’s over 60s it’s still a state title, you’re still playing the ones from all around the state that have got there,” he said
“I think it’s good for our division to have state winners because we don’t get very many from around here.
“I think the last person that won was from City Memorial, Brian Scott, I believe about two or three years ago.”
Body’s path to the state finals started four weeks ago, when he took to the greens at Camperdown.
“You go through the division first, which is Corangamite and you have a knockout there and you become the division winner,” Body said.
“Then you go on and play the region.
“There are three regions in our area which covers Corangamite, Far Western which is the Portland area and Western, which is the Warrnambool area.
“We played off (region final) at Camperdown Golf and I won that and that’s how I got through to represent the region (at the state titles).”
In the division matches, Body had a first round bye before he defeated Max Johnson from Camperdown Golf, Derrinallum’s Bill Dobie and Camperdown’s Ron Cameron in the final.
He played off against a member from the Portland Bowling Club in the region final, which he won comfortably.
Body’s achievement at the state titles won’t see him go onto a national level, but he did attempt to take out another state title, this time in the pairs.
He was unsuccessful in that attempt, with Body and his partner Jack Paasse coming up against strong opposition in the division final.
“It’s only singles and pairs in the over 60s, and I was runner up in that for Corangamite division (the pairs),” Body said.
“My partner was Jack Paasse from Camperdown; he’s only been playing bowls for two years, so it was a pretty good achievement.
“We were up against two very experienced bowlers, one of them, Kenny Hanson, is vying to represent Australia in the handicap event at the Commonwealth Games next year.
“It was only two bad ends that cost us the final unfortunately.”
Although he wasn’t successful in his pairs attempt, Body is happy with his singles victory and will continue to revel in his triumph for years to come.
He admitted that it would be a good feeling to see his name alongside other state title winners, and will enjoy that moment when the day finally comes.
“It’s nice to be held in fairly good company and be on the honour board for everyone to read in the future,” Body said.