GEORGE Fox spent his 80th birthday immersed in one of his sporting passions.
The Port Campbell-raised, Warrnambool-based lawn bowler skippered City Rubies against Timboon Maroon in Western District Playing Area in midweek pennant on Tuesday.
The milestone was celebrated by his new club and former team.
Fox crossed to City Memorial this season from Timboon.
"I was trying to keep it (my birthday) quiet but everybody knows," he laughed.
"Someone was getting me back because they had a birthday four days ago."
Fox took up lawn bowls in 1996 while living in Wangaratta.
He returned to the Western District five years ago and joined Timboon.
"Last year I moved over here (to Warrnambool) but I travelled back and played there," he said.
"I decided to change over this season."
Camaraderie and the challenge of facing tricky opponents is what keeps Fox on the greens.
"In my younger days I tried to improve but now I just enjoy the game for the heck of it," he said.
Fox has settled into City Rubies' division one line-up and is content filling a number of roles.
"I don't mind where I play - I just enjoy the game," he said.
"At my age I've had a fair bit of illness so I am just happy to play. I skip some days, lead others, play third - just all over the place."
He had a similar philosophy in his younger days when he would "play just about every sport there was".
"I played 300-odd games of football, mainly with Port Campbell and some with Cobden, and badminton for 30 years and cricket for 25 or 30 years," Fox said.
"I started off in the forward line (playing football) and then played in the centre for years.
"I'd play wherever they needed me - full-back, full-forward - I was just one of those utility players who played everywhere.
"I have always enjoyed sport and got a lot of good times out of it. I still enjoy playing and that's the main thing."
Fox's dream of a birthday win was denied, with City Rubies falling four shots short of Timboon 61-57.
His own rink - consisting Fox, Barry Murrell, Margaret Fleming and Colleen Wooles - had a narrow loss to Peter Rowe's rink.
In other midweek pennant matches, City Sapphires edged out Port Fairy Gold 56-54, City Diamonds overcame Koroit Orange 58-49 and Warrnambool Gold was too strong for Terang Gold, winning 75-56.
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