Roma teen’s dreams come true with historic lawn bowls win
LAWN bowls is a sport that runs through John Hammond’s blood, but now the 17-year-old pulled off an incredible feat after countless hours of practice.
The painting and design apprentice has won the 2020 A Grade Open comp at the Roma Bowls Club, which makes him the youngest person to do so in many years.
“I’ve been wanting to be the youngest person to win it in a long time,” he said.
“Dad won it too so I kind of wanted to be younger than him when he won it.
“It just runs in the family.”
John beat his father to the achievement, who won the comp when he was 20-years-old.
There were five games that John had to win to score the championship, and he couldn’t lose any of them.
“I started very young; I started in Toowoomba and I’ve just grown up with it pretty much,” John said.
“I’ve played since I was 6, so that’s 11 years.
“I’ve only really started playing competitively the past 3 or 4 years.”
While winning an A Grade Open comp is no easy task, COVID-19 threw a spanner in the works of John’s training schedule.
He would typically practice most days, but with COVID-19 he had to reduce his training to two days a week.
“With COVID no one’s been playing that much, no one has,” John said.
“Everyone struggles when they first come back.”
Now that he’s won the A Grade Opens at Roma, John would like to take his sport even further.
“It’d be good to get back to back, but I go away on the 9th of August to district playoff for state level at Mitchell.
“I’d love to get back to back obviously, but it’s a hard thing to do.
“You’ve got so many bowlers and it’s knockout.
“You keep practising hard and you never know.”
He is sponsored by Aerobowls and frequently travels to Toowoomba and Brisbane for games.
Even through the challenges ahead, he’s always got a strong sense of guidance.
“It’s always what I wanted to do,” John said.
“Dad’s always been a role model and he’s played in the districts and he’s won them all.”
The Roma Bowls Club has seen a slump in membership numbers since the pandemic broke out and is always looking for more members.
“We’re always looking for more members,” John said.
“Normally we have around the 200, 250 mark a year but we’re only at the 140 mark these days.”