Tat Chat - Tatura bowls

By Shepparton News

Tatura Bowls Club - Men's Club Champions

Tatura Bowls Club commenced as a founding member of Goulburn Valley district bowls in 1904 and has a proud history recorded on honour boards throughout its facility.

The men's club champions indicate several players have been outstanding in the number of club championships won.

H. S. Davy, then proprietor of the Tatura Guardian, was a prominent citizen and involved in most of the town's sporting and public activities. He won seven championship titles from 1916 to 1925. He died suddenly in 1927.

Phil Pullar, had probably the most distinguished bowling career for the club.

A district farmer, whose farming activities sometimes interfered with his bowls, he won 18 titles with six Champion of Champions.

His first championship was in 1922, but because of ill health, his second was not until 1933, but from 1943 to 1952 he won 10 consecutive titles. A feat that speaks for itself, and not one likely to be surpassed.

Fred Volk, a primary school principal, played every bowl as if his life depended on it.

Last end and 30 shots up, Fred would still go to the head to see how he could score an extra shot.

A keen student of the game, he was prepared to share his knowledge and advice, except if he was scheduled to play you the next game.

Fred was the press correspondent and he provided a wonderful record of club activities during the years 1955 to 1978.

He won three championships and one Champion of Champions in the period from 1960 to 1974.

Keith Warburton and Geoff Hicks started their bowls careers about the same time, both playing bowls in the summer and football in the winter.

Keith reached his peak between 1964 and 1972, when he won six championships and four Champion of Champions.

Pressure of work and old football injuries (played Carlton VFL 1951-55 74 games, 91 goals and after became Tatura coach) caused Keith to then miss his bowls for a few years before making a comeback and still playing well enough for top grade pennant.

Geoff matured later than Keith, and he won four championships between 1975 and 1985 and included two Champion of Champions.

Keith's and Geoff's years of bowls coincided from the early 1960s to the late 1980s, and they became a great combination, winning State Country Pairs in 1971 and in 1972 going on to defeat the Metropolitan pair to win the State Title.

In 1982-83 Keith and Geoff with Jim Curtis and Cliff Johnson, won the State Fours, a prestigious event, then went on to represent Victoria in the Australian Championships.

Dennis Smith transferred from Hill Top Country Club with four club championships and two Champion of Champions and added to his distinguished career by winning three club championships and one Champion of Champions and Group 5 Champion at Tatura.

Tom Flanagan and Phil Pullar were the earliest to gain selection in the Victorian state team, acquitting themselves with distinction. Keith Warburton, Dennis Smith and Peter Campbell, Tatura's 1997 club champion and GV Champion of Champions, also gained selection in Victorian state teams.

In the 16 years following the centenary year there have been 10 individual club champions with none managing to further their ambitions and achieve Champion of Champions status.

Note: Appreciation to Arthur Knee and his club history Centenary Book for much of the content. Lady associate's champions to be recognised at a later date.

— John Crilly