Bullet Bob Ballantyne reveals illustrious career
BOWLS :Our next member in the series features another of the club’s top bowlers: Bob Ballantyne.
Bob has won just about every championship at the club at least once.
When championship draws are advertised, members are truly glad if they have dodged the “Ballantyne Bullet” in the early rounds hoping that they will get through with Bob somehow being eliminated early in the contest.
Bob is a dedicated clubman and is prepared to back up his words with actions, having been a club director for many years and is now a vice-president and chair of the match and greens committee.
Bob was kind enough to participate in a distance interview and his responses provide a glimpse into the sporting prowess of this Yamba bowling living legend.
DF: Where did you live as a child?
BB: Born West Wyalong, there until age five years of age, then Wagga Wagga.
DF: Where did you go to school?
BB: Wagga Wagga.
DF: What was your primary occupation?
BB: I roamed the countryside as a surveyor.
DF: At what age did you take up lawn bowls?
BB: A spritely 62.
DF: What was your first club and what was the motivation to join?
BB: Yamba was my first club and I joined to keep Wendy, my wife, company.
DF: Why did you settle in Yamba?
BB: We retired and were searching for the best possible place for the lifestyle we wanted and that was Yamba.
DF: Where did you move from to settle in Yamba?
BB: Parkes, Central West NSW.
DF: What is the best thing about living in Yamba?
BB: The climate, relaxed lifestyle and being a perennial tourist. There are plenty of walks, beaches, mates, bowls etc.
DF: Has Yamba and the Yamba Bowling Club lived up to your expectations?
BB: Yes, on both counts. The town is a wonderful place to live, in non-tourist times especially, and the club provides friendship and amenities that make life so enjoyable.
DF: How long have you been bowling at the club?
BB: Since arriving 13 years ago.
DF: Do you hold any positions at the club?
BB: Yes. I am a vice-president and chair of match and greens committee.
DF: What are the greatest challenges associated with your role at the club?
BB: Finding the balance between the expectations of bowlers on one hand and the Board on the other.
DF: What is your favourite characteristic about the club?
BB: The facilities, especially the greens and people, especially the CEO, president and bowls co-ordinator.
DF: Who are or have been some of the true characters at the club so far in your time?
BB: Max Googh – certainly one of a kind! Along with Earl Cochrane and “Bracko” – unique, real characters, aficionados of the game, tall tales to tell. Ted Collier – just a great bloke, whose favourite saying when things went his way was that he’d “kicked a goal”.
DF: Who is the best bowler that you have played against or seen play at Yamba?
BB: Max Googh, an outstanding lawn bowls talent.
DF: Who is the best bowler that you have played against or with anywhere in the world?
BB: Apart from Max, Rex Johnson from Tuncurry these days, Rex is an ex-Australian representative and is always difficult to beat whether in singles or a team’s event.
DF: Who is the most humorous or comical player with which you have played?
BB: Peter Forrester – amusing to play with or just watch – for his precision calls, his self-reprimands, body language – and then there’s his sick jokes!
DF: What are your favourite bowls to play with?
BB: My preferred bowls are Greenmaster Power – 16.
DF: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
BB: Still here – in Yamba alive and kicking, retired from the board, still an active bowler (I plan on introducing an Over 85s singles championship before I retire from the match committee though.)
DF: How have you filled your time during the COVID-19 break?
BB: Keeping fit, rolling up (lucky to have a synthetic green at my disposal), coffee break every day, relaxing, cryptic crosswords and sudokus, reading Wendy’s “to do” list and crossing a few off, reading and responding to all of the bowls co-ordinator’s emails.
DF: What other sports have or do you play competitively?
BB: Most codes of football: rugby union, Australian rules and rugby league; also, cricket, golf, athletics, hockey, squash and basketball.
DF: I believe that Bob may have been a little modest in his reply. I have it in good authority he is a sports tragic and that he has been successful in a multitude of sporting endeavours.
Everyone around the club knows that he is a big believer in the adage “perfect practice makes perfect.”
I am aware that he achieved a lot in cricket, his main love before bowls, having played Sydney A-grade and represented Country NSW against the West Indies.
I believe that he was still playing top grade cricket when he retired, at his wife’s (Wendy) insistence, when he turned 50. Bob then went back to golf and hockey becoming an Australian Masters Representative in the latter.
I am also aware that in his much younger days, he was a NSW State 440 yards and 880 yards athletics finalist, a regional AFL representative and a single figure golfer. So, anyone who thinks that he is just an outstanding bowler really doesn’t know him!
DF: What other non-sporting interests do you have?
BB: Travel, family, keeping fit, carpentry and mind exercising games and crosswords.
DF: If you could change one thing in your life, what would it be?
BB: My year of birth!
DF: I think this small interview has not truly done Bob justice.
However, if it helps others to understand and better appreciate the calibre of person that we have at the club both on the green and in the boardroom, then we have achieved something.
Joke of the week: How do you make Bronco biscuits? You put them in a bowl and beat them for 80 minutes!
YAMBA SOCIAL BOWLS SET FOR RETURN
In great news for our bowlers, it looks as though we will be back to social bowls from Friday, June 19, and with the 2020 Championship program to resume soon after.