Drakes Pride Comes To Australia
After winning the Gold medal at the Edinburgh Games Ian
Dickison was invited to play in tournaments in Australia and was spotted at The
Adelaide Masters by Elliot Beasley a member of the Adelaide Club. He liked the
way the bowls performed and contacted Drakes Pride with a proposal for his son
Geoff Beasley to be the Australian agents.
The agency was set up but it require the Australian Bowls Association to modify their regulations and stipulate that bowls manufacturers licensed by the International Bowling Board were to be used. This was as a result of the President of the IBB Garnet Putland OAM, efforts to ensure all Countries played to the same regulations.
Geoff Beasley, who was a South Australia State Bowler became the Drakes Pride agent in 1986 and through his efforts and advice bowls were designed specifically for the high quality outdoor greens enjoyed by Australian bowlers.
Rob Parrella, a great Australian bowler & Geoff Beasley,
the Drakes Pride agent
Geoff set up State distributors - in Queensland it was International Bowls Services run at that time by Warwick Jefferies. He was a keen supporter of up and coming talent and so Kelvin Kerkow and Steve Glasson were both successfully users of Drakes Bowls whilst making their name in bowls.
Kelvin & Steve with Warwick
1994 Australian Indoor Championships at Tweeds Head Bowls Club
The distributor in Victoria was Don Sherman, a Gold medal winner representing Australia many times at bowls and later becoming the Manager of the bowls team. In 1996 he decided to set up a test table in Bendigo and came over to the Drakes Pride factory for training. Once he had completed the in house instruction he was examined by World Bowling Board to ensure he was competent to test bowls according to their requirements.
Alan Williams handing Don Sherman his certificate on passing
the practical training.
Rob Curran Drakes Pride Production Manager; David Johnston WBB Secretary, Alan Williams WBB President; Peter Clare Director DP and Don Sherman DP Victoria.
The following year Don's son, another Don, came over to the UK and again took the training course and was as before was examined at the end of it by representatives of WBB.
L - R
Alan Williams WBB President; Don Sherman (Jnr) DP Victoria & Peter Clare Director DP
In 1997 Thurston, the UK leading Snooker and Billiard firm, who have been involved in the supply and or installation of 10 or more bowls test tables, supplied and installed the test table in Bendigo. The bowls test table was inspected and approved by Jim Evans the WBB representative in Australia.
The New South Wales & Australia Capital Territory distributor was Bob Bowell based at first in Canberra but he subsequently took over the running of Bentley's bowls shop in the suburbs of Sydney.
In 2012 the Sherman family retired from being the Australian agenst for Drakes Pride and so the NSW based business run by Fred Ayoub was appointed to handle the Drakes Pride product range. In May 2012 Mike Eggington and Peter Clare of Drakes pride flew over to Australia to finalise the deal.
L - R
Mike and Peter may look a little 'Jet Lagged' as this picture was taken at the Six Nations event held at Holdfast Bay Club in Adelaide. They had only been in Australia for a couple of days arriving in Sydney and then flying to Adelaide for a 24 hours visit!
In 2012 Drakes contiunued experiments in use of coloured material resulted in the following mix. At the time it was considered that such a set of bowls did not meet the WB Ltd regulations on what constitued a match set! Note add in 2014 - in 2014 similar bowls are now marketed and WB Ltd. have allowed them as being within their rules.