WITH a world title and a Commonwealth Games gold medal to her credit, Daphne Shaw has a very impressive lawn bowls CV.
Daphne has been playing the game for nearly 40 years. She joined her local club, North Haven, just south of Port Macquarie, in 1977 and is still a keen player.
Born in western NSW, she enjoyed many sports in her early days and continued with netball until she was nearly 50. An injured knee forced her to give up this sport, but by then lawn bowls had become her main sporting interest.
She first entered the North Haven Club Championship in 1979 and won the title. More success came her way over the next 10 years and in late 1989 she was chosen in the Australian fours team for the 1990 Commonwealth Games in New Zealand.
In her mid-40s at the time, Daphne was the youngest team member. She joined Audrey Rutherford (Qld), Dorothy Roche (NSW) and Marian Stevens (Vic) in the team.
Australia topped Section B, winning all six matches by a combined total of 189 to 80. New Zealand finished first in Section A, and in the final, the Aussie ladies took the honours with a tight 20-18 win.
In 1991 Daphne won the NSW Champion of Club Champions singles title and a few months later collected a gold medal in the pairs and a silver in the singles at the Asia Pacific Championships in Hong Kong. In 1992 she journeyed to Ayr in Scotland for the World Championships and picked up bronze as a member of the Australian fours team.
Victoria, Canada, was the venue for the 1994 Commonwealth Games and Daphne, along with Marian Stevens, represented Australia in the pairs. Although they won five of their eight matches, Daphne and Marian were probably one game away from being in medal contention.
In August 1996, the world’s best lady bowlers headed to Leamington Spa in the English midlands for the World Championships. The Australian fours team was Daphne (NSW), Margaret Sumner (Vic), Marilyn Peddell (Qld) and Gordana Baric (Vic).
After topping their section, Australia defeated South Africa 18-15 in the final. Daphne, along with Margaret Sumner and Gordana Baric, made up the triples team, and also reached the final, only to go down 19-12 to South Africa.
Daphne represented Australia up to 1998. She represented NSW for 13 years from 1984 and also won several Australian championships, including the singles title.
During her time on the international scene, Daphne often played against men, particularly in the televised Jack High program of the 1990s and early 2000s. In one of the early Jack High events, 10 men,
Daphne and an Irish lady bowler made up the dozen competitors. Daphne was narrowly defeated in the semi-final. One of her treasured memories from many wonderful moments on the greens comes from winning the 1992 Qantas International Mixed Pairs.
Her partner for this prestigious tournament was Englishman David Bryant, the world’s most well known and decorated lawn bowler. Known as the “Bradman of Bowls”, he dominated the sport for about 40 years. He has won four World Outdoor singles titles, four World Indoor Championships and five Commonwealth Games gold medals.
In 2011, Daphne was admitted to the Australian Lawn Bowls Hall of Fame and was also given an Australian Sports Medal. From 1997 to 2003 she was manager, selector, coach and mother hen for the NSW junior girls team, while in 2012 and 2013 she managed the NSW ladies senior team. Daphne has recently taken up ten-pin bowling, with her best score being in the 180s.
For the past 25 years or so, she has been a mentor to Karen Murphy, who is Australia’s top female player and world number three. The two are very close and Daphne is thrilled with Karen’s many successes.
Daphne has been married to husband Colin for 52 years and the couple have two daughters and seven grandchildren. Colin played a very supportive role during his wife’s international career and her many overseas trips. He enjoys golf but the support ends when the topic is rugby league. Daphne is an avid Manly supporter, while Colin is a keen Roosters man.