HE has played tennis, cricket and golf, and 97-year-old Jeffrey Perry can now add lawn bowls to his long resume, proving age is no barrier.
Nanjing Night Net

The much-loved Dubbo resident can bowl a faultless shot despite his ripe old age, but still loves to play the game each and every Sunday with men he has come to know as family.

Perry first got involved with bowls five years ago, joining the over-85s Macquarie Vets. The exclusive club saw him win the first competition in 2010, beating the odds that his age could have worked against him.

“I used to play tennis and cricket, and more recently golf, but I had never played bowls before then. I guess I always thought it was an old man’s game, and waited until I was old to play it,” he said.

His first major win in the over-85s competition two years ago was a proud moment for the veteran, something he was able to share with bowling partner Mark Clarke.

Perry’s success wasn’t able to continue through to 2011, being narrowly beaten for the winning spot.

Originally from Collie, Perry has been in Dubbo for 14 years, and in that time has learnt to love lawn bowls, particularly as he gets to spend time with a group of like-minded individuals.

“I love the company and as it’s a difficult game, it’s sometimes a challenge to play it, but I’m spending time with some wonderful friends and we learn not to worry about it, otherwise we’d be nervous wrecks.”

Playing with Dubbo residents like Doug Chapman, and cousin Bob Ridge, Perry is described by his teammates as a valuable member of the team, and one that makes it enjoyable for everybody else.

“Sunday morning is vets’ day for us, and I’ve met a lot of nice people through bowls…being part of this group keeps us off the streets,” he joked.

The group of 18 players emanate friendship and brotherhood, all of them enjoying a chuckle and reminiscing about the old days.

Fellow bowler Gordon Howe said when Perry began his bowling career, he underwent a carpal tunnel operation and was unable to bowl with his right hand.

“Jeffrey defied the odds and bowled with his left hand, and the result was just as good as if he did it with his right. He is just a phenomenal bowler,” he said.

It seemed the everyday skills rubbed off on his 99-year-old sister, who can easily drive her car around the streets of Sydney to this day.

“Jeffrey flew on 35 flights over Germany in World War II, and still remembers it…it’s truly an honour to know him,” Mr Howe said.

BACK: Reece Wheeler, John Rockell, Doug Chapman, Grahame Chick, Bob Ridge, Ken Weber, Ted Reid and John Whittle. FRONT: Jim Smart, Mark Clarke, Keith Norris, Jeffrey Perry, John Butcherine, Trevor Hampson, John Vogt and Gordon Howe. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

Jeffrey Perry. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

Ken Weber and Keith Norris. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

Ken Weber, Jeffrey Perry and Gordon Howe. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

Ted Reid and John Vogt. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

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