First time award for Port Mac bowler

IN MEMORY: Port MacDonnell bowler Murray Burley has been immortalised in a perpetual trophy. Pictures: SUPPLIED

Charlotte Varcoe

FURTHER encouragement for youth across the Limestone Coast to engage with bowls is underway with a Port MacDonnell bowler being immortalised in a perpetual trophy.

Port MacDonnell Bowls Club kick started a memorial award for young bowls enthusiasts naming it after long-term player Vale Burley.

Mr Burley was a member of the club for 17 years and prior to joining Port MacDonnell he played at both Mount Gambier clubs as well as Holdfast Bay.

He also played 12 games for the state and was listed as number 149.

Mr Burley passed away on August 22, 2020, at the age of 82.

His daughter Karen Petersen said he had started the game in his late 30’s after he was unable to play football any longer.

“His greatest achievement was playing for his state in 1984 and there was also the State Country pairs which he won in 1981 and 1982 with a lifelong friend Mick Haynes,” Ms Petersen said.

“There have been numerous pennant wins, I think about 11 in total and lots of trips to Adelaide for Country week playing against various clubs in South Australia.”

She said during his time at Port MacDonnell, he was a committee member, selectors, volunteer and coach.

“He was always a strong advocate for new members to join the club and for the younger generation to take the game on,” Ms Petersen said.

Recently, Ms Petersen gave the new Murray Burley Perpetual Trophy to Skye Wilson stating she was confident the young player had the potential to be a future club champion.

“This years trophy went to a young lady who is no stranger to the club being here with many years playing night owls and watching her father, grandmother and great-grandfather play,” Ms Petersen said.

“It was only a matter of time before she took up the game.”

Ms Wilson said she had been involved with the club from a young age and thoroughly enjoyed playing bowls.

“I enjoy the people and being around everyone,” Ms Wilson said.

“It is like a second family for me as everyone is really close with each other and the game is fun and enjoyable for everyone.”

She said older club members were always on hand to teach her a thing or two and she enjoyed learning from the older generations.

“These are people who have experience so the game has really shown me a lot and I have gained so many connections within the club,” Ms Wilson said.

“When I received the award I bawled my eyes out and I was so shocked that I could win something like this.

“It was amazing because Murray knew my dad and it shocked me I was even considered for the award.”

She said although she did not have a lot to do with Mr Burley personally, she remembered seeing him around the club from a young age.

“I do not remember a lot about him because I was really little but I do remember him teaching my dad to play bowls so he was a bigger part of our family,” Ms Wilson said.

She said she believed younger people should get more involved with the sport stating she has learnt so much from being involved.

“I think there are not enough younger people and nobody understands the community,” Ms Wilson said.

“It is a team sport and although it is an individual game, you learn so much from the people around you so it is not always about the game but the people you play with and get around you.”

She said the game was very enjoyable with the potential to be very successful in it.

“Next year I am thinking of trying out for the state team as I missed out on try-outs this year,” Ms Wilson said.

“I think everyone thinks the game is for older people but I feel like if people got into it when they were younger they would have more opportunities to be successful later on.”