Greater Shepparton Sports Hall of Fame inductee
Being an inaugural inductee into the Greater Shepparton Hall of Fame is an honour, but Mavis Meadowcroft’s bowls career lifted her to greater heights.
Five years ago, Meadowcroft’s daughters Barbara Lancaster and Pam Speirs travelled to Adelaide to accept Meadowcroft’s posthumous induction into the Bowls Australia Hall of Fame.
‘‘We are really thrilled (with the Shepparton honour) ... it’s a natural thing that you would be thrilled — but the biggest thrill was when she was inducted into the Australian Hall of Fame,’’ Lancaster said.
‘‘The Shepparton Hall of Fame is good, but the Australian Hall of Fame — it can’t get any better than that, can it?’’
Meadowcroft died a decade ago and her daughters will accept the Greater Shepparton award with Lancaster travelling from her NSW base and Speirs from Rosebud.
It was only after her death that a full list of Meadowcroft’s achievements in bowls became known.
Although she attended countless elite tournaments, as a humble person she was never one to boast.
‘‘She didn’t bring any of it up, you wouldn’t even know what she did, it was only what was written down by the Victorian Bowls Association,’’ Lancaster said.
‘‘If she heard us skiting about what she’d done, she’d say, ‘You don’t have to be telling everyone’.
‘‘She used to just say, ‘I’m going to play in Melbourne’ such and such and we’d ring her up and she’d say ‘we had a win’ like it was nothing, she was never ever skiting about a thing, she never blew her own trumpet.
‘‘She was incredibly humble and a lot of people didn’t know what she’d won until she passed away.’’
Meadowcroft had plenty to brag about, had she been so inclined.
The 14-time Stanhope club champion also played at Mooroopna Golf and Shepparton Golf in the Goulburn Valley.
She won the open singles title in the Goulburn Valley 11 times and was crowned Goulburn Valley Champion of Champion nine times between 1959 and 1991.
At the peak of her career she was among the best bowlers in Australia, winning a World Championship triples title in Melbourne in 1985.
Teaming with Norma Massey and Dorothy Roche, she was crowned a world champion as well as finishing runner-up in the fours at the same event.
The 1980s was a period of great success for Meadowcroft, who travelled to Canada in 1981 as part of the Australian team for the World Bowls series.
All the while she was representing Victoria, having been selected in the state side 22 years in a row, from 1966 to 1988.
She was awarded the Shepparton Sherbourne Apex Club’s Sports Star of the Year award in 1981 and 1985.
Lancaster said her mum was exceptional in any sport she tried her hand at.
‘‘She was so dedicated to it (bowls), but she was a good sportsperson before she took up bowls anyway, it didn’t matter what she did, she was good at it,’’ she said.
‘‘She was a runner and a netballer, but when she took up bowls that was it, she really loved it.’’
Meadowcroft was encouraged to take up bowls by her husband John.
She moved to Merimbula after he died, to be closer to her daughters, and it was there she had to prove herself again to a new bowling fraternity.
‘‘When she first went to Merimbula and they put her as a lead, she said, ‘I have played a lot of bowls’,’’ Lancaster said.
Meadowcroft was humble about her achievements, but mentioned that skipping the team might be a more realistic option.
‘‘She said, ‘I play skip’ and they said, ‘You can’t play a skip here unless you’ve proved yourself,’ — and I thought that was hilarious,’’ Lancaster said.
‘‘She wore bowls badges on her hat, and one lady came and said, ‘Mavis, you can’t wear badges unless you played for Australia,’ and she (Mavis) said, ‘I did’.’’
Like many who had a long playing career in their sport, Meadowcroft went on to be involved in the administration of the game at club and association level.
In yet another Hall of Fame achievement, Meadowcroft was inducted into the Goulburn Valley Bowls Division elite at this year’s ceremony in May.