Swifts lawn bowlers John Steed (left) and John Hindmarsh still enjoy their midweek competition at the Ipswich club.
Swifts lawn bowlers John Steed (left) and John Hindmarsh still enjoy their midweek competition at the Ipswich club. Rob Williams

Aged 93 and 82, these two Johns are still in the game

MEET John and John.

They are two delightful Ipswich mates with vastly different backgrounds sharing a love of the same game.

But what makes Swifts Sports Club duo John Hindmarsh and John Steed extra special is their attitude.

Meeting them at their favourite bowls club, you'd be hard pressed to pick Hindmarsh was 93 and Steed was still enjoying his bowls at 82.

The easygoing duo are surely among the most "senior'' pairs combinations in Queensland, playing each Wednesday afternoon on the Booval greens.

They still collect some prize money playing two games of 13 ends midweek, where Steed proudly declares: "Last week we got the first round of highest winning margin''.

It doesn't take long to discover the main reason former butcher Hindmarsh and ex-New Zealand serviceman Steed look forward to their regular games.

"It's the challenge,'' Steed said, encouraging other older people to try the sport.

The two Johns also live close to each other in Winston Glades, strengthening their friendship.

They have played together for 10 years after Steed was a late starter in bowls.

English-born Steed was a former footballer playing for New Zealand Air Force and New Zealand Combined Services teams during his time in the country.

The centre half enjoyed the round ball game for 25 years before a stint refereeing.

"I really loved that,'' he said, having also done national service in the UK before living in New Zealand.

Bowls became his new passion 15 years ago.

"When I gave up soccer, I was looking for something,'' said Steed, who turns 83 in December.

"I started in New Zealand and got six championships over there in pairs, triples and fours (playing on the north island).''

When asked what's most satisfying about bowls, Steed answers: "It's the skills when you do a good shot.''

Hindmarsh started bowls in 1980 after giving up work.

"I've been a butcher since I was a kid,'' he said, now into his nineties.

"I had my own shop at Bundamba for quite a few years.''

That's one reason Hindmarsh offers for his longevity.

"I've always been on my feet,'' he said. "I enjoyed it and it's been good to me.''

Hindmarsh used to play pairs with his wife Beryl, before she passed away four years ago.

Now the fit-looking 93-year-old enjoys teaming up on the greens with another John.

"It's the companionship,'' Hindmarsh said when asked what he likes most.

"He (Steed) puts up with me.''

As the affable gentlemen prepared to play their latest game, both Johns still had a competitive glint in their eyes.

While they may not win any major championships, one shared goal is assured.

"The doctors tell me to play as long as you can,'' Hindmarsh said.

Steed agrees as the sporting mates gather their gear for another game to enjoy.



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