HANK Pelgrim’s first foray into lawn bowls came 14 years ago.
“I was playing a game of bocce and a guy said ‘gee, you have a good eye, how about a game of bowls?’,” he said.
“And the rest is history.”
That was in Adelaide, where Pelgrim played for 11 years before relocating to Warrnambool.
He joined City Memorial Red and, now in his third season at the club, is preparing for his first Western District Bowls Division top-grade grand final.
“I was asked to come for a roll at City Memorial Bowls Club and haven’t left,” he said of joining the powerhouse outfit.
“They have embraced me.
“I am so glad City Memorial accepted me into their ranks. We have some very fine players.”
Pelgrim, who will play third to David Wells in the decider against Warrnambool Gold at Dennington on Saturday, won a pennant flag with Adelaide Bowling Club before moving interstate.
He believes the Western District competition fares well compared to the metropolitan-based league.
“It was very, very strong,” Pelgrim said.
“There would be a lot of players in Warrnambool who should be very proud of the competition here because it’s a very good calibre.”
Pelgrim, 60, works part-time for Christian’s Bus Lines and spends many hours at City Memorial.
He said he was pleased he made the move across the border.
“It is the camaraderie. You meet a lot of other great people within the bowls fraternity,” Pelgrim said.
“I am absolutely bewildered with the people of Warrnambool – you walk down the street and people from bowls clubs, whether it’s your own team or others, say ‘hello Hank’.
“I think it’s a wonderful attribute of windy Warrnambool.”
City Memorial Red returns to the grand final stage after a two-season hiatus to face a Warrnambool Gold side striving for five consecutive premierships.
Pelgrim said his side, which will go in slight underdog, backed itself to perform strongly in front of what he is expecting to be a bumper crowd at Dennington.
He believes the game will be played in good spirits between two long-time combatants.
“It’s all about mindset and consistency,” he said.
City Memorial Blue will attempt to defend its title in division two when it takes on Koroit White.
A new premier will be crowned in division three with Mortlake White and City Memorial Brown going head-to-head.
Likewise, a new victor will celebrate in division four with Terang Blue taking on Dennington Black for the title.