Power-house on greens

July 28, 2017

Clarice Power's affection for lawn bowls came after beginning to play indoor bowls with her mother before moving on to outdoor bowls.

Clarice Power played lead in an Australian side that secured silver at the 1986 Edinburgh Commonwealth Games.

Greater Shepparton Sports Hall of Fame inductee

The 1986 Edinburgh Commonwealth Games was the highlight of Clarice Power’s lawn bowls career.

The Mooroopna Golf bowler was selected into the Australian side to compete at the Games, narrowly missing out on a chance for gold.

Having played for two weeks, awful weather hit the Scottish capital on the day of the gold medal match.

With rain delaying many games, the decision was made to finish the singles first as English player Wendy Line was in contention and Queen Elizabeth would be on the greens to present the medal.

But that pushed Power’s fours final back to a late start on the Friday evening, as they played through rain and wind to finish the match.

‘‘We were out until 10 at night in the dark and in the rain and they were bringing out cups of hot soup for us and a Welsh team beat us in the final,’’ Power said.

‘‘The Scottish people said ‘we’ll prepare the greens for tomorrow morning if you want to play because the Queen’s gone, she won’t be presenting the medal’, and the (Australian) skipper said that’s no good.’’

Power’s teammate Patricia Smith was due to play in Queensland on the Monday, making her eager to finish the game on the Friday.

Securing the silver medal with Power playing as lead, she said it was still a wonderful tournament experiencing the country where her ancestors came from.

Power was at the peak of her career during the 1986 season, having won the Goulburn Valley Champion of Champions, before heading to Sydney to trial for the Commonwealth Games team.

On her return from Sydney she was crowned State Champion of Champions, confirming the national selectors had made the right decision picking her in the Australian side.

Power would win four state singles championships to go alongside also being the best player in the Goulburn Valley four times.

She won 10 Mooroopna Golf titles, having been an instigator in the formation of the women’s pennant side after coming across from indoor bowls.

Power first decided to play any form of the sport when she needed to drop her mother off at indoor bowls and was spotted by Zillah Foster, who invited her along to play outdoors.

‘‘I had success at indoor bowls and there was a lady there who I played a lot of indoor bowls with and she said ‘why don’t you come over to Mooroopna Golf?’,’’ Power said.

‘‘She was the one that got me to go to Mooroopna Golf and it was just a new outdoor bowls club, there were a few established ones like Shepparton, but this was just a little club.

‘‘So I went over there and started playing bowls and I got to like it and after a few years I started to do fairly well, but I kept up the indoor bowls.’’

At the time she moved across to the newly formed club the women did not yet play pennant, with Power in charge of organising a team to enter in the competition.

For a period of time Mooroopna Golf had plenty of star power in its ranks, with fellow Hall of Fame inductees Mavis Meadowcroft and Edna Harling also playing at the club.

The trio, along with Meadowcroft’s sister-in-law Marj Haebich, formed a powerful state side.

With Meadowcroft skipping and Power a dominant lead, the foursome competed in Tasmania and won the title, despite inclement weather again being a nuisance.

‘‘It had been held over from the Friday to the Saturday morning, but you wouldn’t believe it, my eldest son was getting married that day,’’ Power said.

‘‘We were in Tasmania and I said to them I can play if I can get the plane straight after lunch, so that was arranged.

‘‘We played and we won that and I got back to Melbourne and got to the wedding on time.’’

Power was one of the inaugural inductees into the Goulburn Valley Bowls Division Hall of Fame last year.

But not all of her success was confined to the Goulburn Valley, winning five club championships at Bundoora Bowls Club when she moved to Melbourne to help raise grandchildren.

While her highest accolades came in outdoor bowls, Power continued to play indoor bowls during the winter with another five Goulburn Valley singles titles to add to her collection.

She also represented Australia with her husband Jim, travelling to New Zealand to contest an indoor Trans-Tasman competition.

Having served on the Goulburn Valley match committee, Power’s bowling career came to an unfortunate end not long ago when a fall required a shoulder replacement to her bowling arm.

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