It all started as a little bit of quality time between father and son.
Gloucester’s Col Hebblewhite’s career in lawn bowls began as an after school activity with his father, Norm, when Col was in high school.
“I’d go down after school and have a roll with my dad,” Colin said.
“Just him and I having a bit of practice,” he smiled.
Norm passed away in October 1976, three weeks after Col’s 16th birthday.
“That year he had won the club’s fours championship and mum asked me to accept his award at the presentation night.”
Back then, Col had to wait until he was 18 years old before he could start playing regularly and when he joined Gloucester Bowling Club, he was one of the youngest bowlers.
“I took it up to follow in my father’s footsteps.” he explained.
Since then, Col has played in many singles, doubles, triples and fours chanmpionships in Gloucester and around the region, claiming several titles along the way.
He started playing as part of the Gloucester pennants team when he was 19 years old; a team that has claimed many titles over the years.
But the title that every members wants, is the men’s singles and according to Col, it’s a hard one to win.
It’s played as a knockout competition, so if you lose one game, you’re out.
So winning once is an achievement, and Col has won it 10 times, matching the club record held by Tom Donoghue.
Col’s first title win was in 1998 and since then has won it in 2002, 2003, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2013, 2014, 2015 and again in 2017.
So will Col beat Tom’s record?
“It’s a possibility,” Col said shyly.
Col has a real affection for Tom, having played bowls with him since the beginning.
Tom asked Col to play with him in the club fours championship.
“I was fortunate enough to win along side Tom,” Col said.
Col also attributes what he has learned to other legends like Toby Yates and Ken Lyall.
Overall, Col just likes to play bowls.
“I love the competition, the fellowship and meeting people,” he said.
“I’m a little competitive deep down,” Col smiled.
Keeping the father and son tradition is still alive in Col’s own family, as he “has a roll” with his son, Beau whenever possible.
His dad is remembered every year through the Norm Hebblewhite Memorial Day competition held at the Gloucester Bowling club.
Toby Wilson started the event in 1977 to honour Norm and it has been played ever since.
“It’s one of the longest running memorial days in the district,” Col said.
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