Sunbury Bowling Club’s Ethan Higgins held his nerve to claim the under-18 boys state title earlier this month.
Sixteen-year-old Higgins won three games to make the final against Cooper Wescombe.
It was tricky conditions, but Higgins had a slight advantage with the championships held at his home green, Sunbury.
“It feels really good,” Higgins said.
“I was a bit surprised that I won. I knew I was a chance to make the final, but there was a lot of good players and I knew it would be tough winning four matches to win.”
Higgins won the final 25-20.
It was one of two finals he contested at the championships – he finished runners-up with Mitch Cole in the boys pairs final.
Higgins almost didn’t compete in the pairs.
“My partner pulled out so I called him [Mitch] up on the day,” he said.
“We had played a bit together, but I didn’t think we would go that well. We didn’t expect to make the final.”
While bowls is an unusual sport for most teenagers, for Higgins it is a chance to return to the sporting field.
After being king hit in a school football match in 2014, Higgins was told by doctors he could no longer play contact sport.
“It definitely feels like a second chance with sport,” he said.
“I thought it would be a lot different than it is. I thought it’d be like
Cracker Jack the movie with everyone in whites.”
He started playing bowls at Gisborne, before moving across to Sunbury. In the recently finished season, he made his debut in Sunbury’s division 1 pennant side.
Next it’s a waiting game to find out whether he’s been selected for the Victorian under-18 team which will compete in a test series against Tasmania in July. Higgins said it was an aim to be selected either this year or next year.
“They select one bowler to compete in the singles to play against the other states,” he said.
“This helps my chances.”
Higgins wasn’t the only Sunbury bowler in action at the under-18 titles.
Mikayla Long finished runner-up in the girls singles, she then paired up with Lisa Trewarne to win the girls pairs.