RICHMOND RAAF Base’s Gerard Harkins won the major singles final in the week-long RAAF bowls tournament, hosted at the Windsor Bowling Club.
Harkins was joined by about 30 RAAF members from across Australia, as they played against each other to see who would be selected to make the RAAF team to take on the Army and Navy later this year, again at Windsor.
While happy he won the singles final, Harkins said he was more rapped about the state of RAAF bowls.
“We used to have about 15-20 people tops, we now have sponsors and the Australian bowls coach [Steve Glasson] as a patron,” he said.
“We really have turned into a well oiled machine. The ages go from about 21 up to 60 and I am just happy to be part of it.”
Former world number one bowler and current Australian bowls coach Steve Glasson, who was at a dinner hosted at the bowls club on Thursday night, said he thought what the RAAF was doing with its bowls team was fantastic.
“I think it is tremendous, especially for the Defence Force and I am honoured to be a patron,” he said.
“When you get to know them they are very likeable, but also ultra-competitive.
“The environment and culture they have is really great. Later in the year when the come together with the Navy and Army there is a mega-rivalry.”
Glasson said he had come to know some of the RAAF bowlers over the years, and knew Harkins was ecstatic after winning the singles championship.
“Gerry Harkins will have the sledging rights having won the singles and he would be quite proud of himself,” he said.
“You could see the delight in his eyes because there are some really accomplished bowlers here.”
On the topic of winning the tournament, Harkins said he was stoked.
“To win the major singles against this class is pretty special,” he said.
“There are a lot of great bowlers here. It was awesome to win.”
Newcastle based aircraft structural technician Tony Tapper said he had a great time bowling during the week.
“It is an awesome week. The bowls we've played, seeing new blokes coming in is fantastic,” he said.
“I played some really good bowls over the week, played a few poor ones too.”
Tapper, who was part of the RAAF’s team which beat Navy in the inter-service championship last year, said while it was a friendly rivalry, he thoroughly enjoyed defeating his counterparts.
“It was awesome to beat Navy,” he said.
Harkins too had some words for what sued to be an inter-service powerhouse.
“We're coming to get you, Navy,” he said.