World No 1?s Ballina fan base
By STEVE SPINKS
WHEN the world number one lawn bowler comes to the Far North Coast he is always ready to meet his number one fan.
It helps that the fan is family.
Sydney's Steve Glasson became world champion in August so his visit to Ballina for this week's Taylor Invitation Bowls Challenge at the Ballina Bowling Club was his first opportunity to catch up with his aunty and uncle, Doonbah's Merle and Ron Glasson.
Ron is a big fan, but he comes a distant second to Merle.
"I guess I am his biggest fan," Mrs Glasson chuckled.
"I've got some scrapbooks and paper clippings."
'Some' seems to be an understatement.
"She's got every bowls magazine and she hoards it all," Ron laughed.
Ron is the brother of Steve's father Robert and he can still remember when the youngster was first introduced to bowls.
"He was pretty young," he said.
"I remember when his father and I used to bowl on the green closest to the bar."
Behind Ron's quips and jokes belies a deep admiration for his nephew and his accomplishments.
"He's a good bowler," Mr Glasson said.
Glasson may be the world champion these days, but a career in banking beckoned when he was younger.
Fortunately, for Australia's bowling stocks, circumstance worked against him.
"I did one week work experience at a bank," Glasson said.
"And I was held up. True story."
As for his exploits overseas, the 35-year-old is modest.
"You set yourself high goals and try to win, but luck can come into it," he said.
Like many successful sportspeople, Glasson has impeccable bloodlines.
His father was a champion bowler in Queensland, while Ron and Merle have had plenty of success at their local club Woodburn.
Ron challenged his nephew to a few ends on Wednesday. So how did he go?
"Ah, yes," laughed Ron.
"I won a couple of ends."