Biloela Bandits mix it with the best
LAWN BOWLS: Four Biloela Bandits rolled into the Gold Coast in October, proving that a group of lawn bowlers from the bush can match it with the state's best.
Graham White, Geoff Geall, Shane McCrohon and Rob Huggers made up the Biloela Bowls Club's championship-winning fours team.
The quartet progressed to the district finals and defeated the championship- winning teams from throughout Port Curtis, before upstaging the Central Queensland champions Yeppoon and the Bundaberg champions to gain a spot in the final eight in the state.
The boys from Bilo travelled to the Gold Coast on October 21, where on the opening day of the state final play-offs they drew with Burnett/Fraser Coast zone winners Wondai 19-19, lost to Gold Coast zone champions Helensvale 22-15 and then defeated Moranbah, who were representing the Mackay district, 31-13.
These results were sufficient to earn the Bandits a spot in the bronze medal play-off against Sunshine Coast champions Mooloolaba.
The match was played in atrocious conditions after a thunderstorm swept across the club at Helensvale, leaving the green inundated.
Biloela went down 23-8, finishing fourth in Queensland.
Bandits skip Rob Huggers said it was a great experience.
"Really, we are just a group of blokes from the bush who enjoy playing bowls,” Huggers said.
"We don't get to play at this high level very often compared to some of the bowlers from the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and other bigger cities who are playing in tough competitions week in, week out.
"We had no great expectations when we went down there.
"Honestly, we are really happy just to win a spot in the finals - to finish fourth was a bonus.
"It just goes to show what a small town like ours can achieve and shows the strength and depth we have within the club at the moment.”
Huggers said the highlight of the whole weekend was playing against the Helensvale Hawks on their home green.
"We got to play against the best bowler in Australia in Aaron Sheriff, and his team included Commonwealth Games medallist Mark Casey and Queensland representatives Matt Lucas and Sam White.
"We were expecting a walloping but they only beat us by seven shots, which was the closest game they had all weekend.
"It was great to talk and learn a bit more about the game from them.”
The 2019 Biloela Bowls competition starts in February. The club is taking nominations now. Anybody interested in giving the sport a try or wanting to play can just pop into the clubhouse on Gladstone Rd and chat to any of the members.