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Sandy and Annie's 50 years featured in Medicine Hat News

posted 4 Nov 2012, 09:55 by Website Editor

Love and lawn bowling

Saturday, 03 November 2012 00:00 Gillian Slade
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Annie Morrice prepares for a lawn bowling competition in this file photograph taken in 2009.
A game that can be traced back to the 13th century captured the hearts of a couple in Medicine Hat and they've been members of the local lawn bowling club for 50 years believed to be the oldest in Alberta.
In 1962, Sandy Morrice and his wife Annie, who died recently, were introduced to the sport and were captivated.
"It's a sport where nobody is swearing and nobody is getting mad," said Sandy with delight. "I could see an element of competition and yet the people had time to look at others and comment when they played a good shot."
Sandy remembers when the bowling green was next to the railway tracks on South Railway Street in the parking lot where the subway leads to North Railway Street. The club was formed in 1931 and moved to its current location, 47 Third St. S.E., in 1931. He has served in every capacity on the executive and is currently president.
"Annie had fun with competition and was the champion," said Sandy. "In 2005 she won gold in the World Masters in Edmonton and in Australia bronze in 2009."
The game is played on grass similar to a putting green. A small white ball is rolled out in the middle and players roll larger balls with a bias as close as they can. The game takes about two hours and can be played in singles, doubles, triples or with four players each side.
Players traditionally wore a white uniform but now clubs have their own colours. A hat with a brim is important and flat soled shoes without a heel to avoid damage to the green, said Sandy.
A set of bowls can set you back about $360 although the club has a supply for those learning the game. Players do tend to become rather attached to their bowls though.
"There are different weights and biases selected to suit the size of the hand," said Sandy. "You find yourself talking to them like friends, 'Come on baby get over' you say."
It's not a game that's going to have you breaking out in a sweat but there is plenty of exercise for legs, arms and feet, said Sandy.
The club does offer a training course and will help people until the feel comfortable to manage on their own. There is no charge for this service but a donation is welcome.
The annual membership is $30 and the club is open for business from the May long weekend to the end of September or even October sometimes. They play every night of the week except Friday and Saturday. The club is made up largely of older members at present.
"Annie and I demonstrated the sport to more than 5,000 students from schools over the years," said Sandy.
Sandy looks to the future and says he can't envision a time when he'd want to stop bowling and the social side of the club and friendliness of the people is what he still appreciates 50 years later.