‘I’m excited about my future,’ says Tilah Mason
Rising star, Tilah Mason, 15, rolled her first bowl with her grandad, Ken Mason, at Albert Bowls Club in Gympie. Tilah said that at first, playing bowls was a way to spend quality time with her grandfather after he inspired and encouraged her to have a go.
“Grandad and Grandma (Jenny Mason) have been very supportive with my training and bought me a set of bowls, shoes and uniforms,” Tilah said.
“Initially, playing bowls was about having fun with Grandad, but now I am taking his valued advice and playing local comps with him, which has been a great way to learn more about the sport.”
Tilah initially thought bowls was a weekend activity that her grandad played to pass the time in retirement.
“I hadn’t heard of many kids playing bowls and didn’t realise that clubs or competitions were even out there for players like myself.
“I now have quite a few friends that play bowls and have met many new friends who share my passion of bowls.
“Everyone is very supportive and kind in the bowls community, especially people from the Albert Bowls Club, who have shown me great support and I am very honoured to play for them.”
Tilah’s first experience with competitive bowls was when she entered the 2021 Secondary Schools’ Cup Test Series with Cody Gerick.
“One day at a roll up at Albert Bowls Club with Grandad, Cody approached me and asked if I would be interested to join him for the Secondary Schools Cup.
“I had met his sister Lacey a few times and had heard all about Cody and his brother Riley and knew that they played bowls.
“I was unaware of the upcoming competition and was delighted but nervous to take part and be partnered with Cody.”
The Secondary Schools’ Cup Conditions of Play specify that only one seasoned player can compete in a pairs team, with the other member being new to bowls or a novice player. Tilah and Cody played well and won the series, which inspired Tilah to continue her journey into the bowls world.
“My school, James Nash State High has been very supportive after the Secondary Schools’ Cup win, dedicating an episode of the school sporting podcast, ‘Bench Press’ with Cody Gerick and I which I was very chuffed to be a part of.”
Tilah said all of her friends have been very accepting of her participation and success in bowls. “My successes have created a lot of interest and I get asked intriguing questions about the sport like, “why do the bowls curve like that? My friends are proud of my efforts.”
Tilah continued her winning streak by winning the U15 Girls’ Singles State Championship title this year (2022).
“The Secondary Schools’ Cup at Pine Rivers really opened my eyes to the world of bowls and I was amazed about the positive feedback from other players and members from other clubs about my game.
“This really made me feel inspired to continue with bowls and pursue a more competitive path for myself.
“I felt proud to be a part of this sport and was excited about where it may take me.
“I guess I underestimated the gravity of our win in the Secondary Schools’ Cup and realised I could really make an impact in this sport.”
Tilah tries to roll up twice a week as she has other sporting commitments playing club and representative netball for Gympie and trains with Crossfit Release three times a week.
“Mum says I need to do more homework, but I always try to hang out with Grandad and practise my bowls, particularly on the weekends,” Tilah adds.
“I really like the beautiful people that I have met along the way and I’m inspired by the effort and commitment people put into the sport.
“I have enjoyed the feeling of being proud of my game and helping my team mates and working together to do our best on the green.
“I like the calmness that it brings and I feel like I have found a unique sport that I am successful at. “It has given me confidence to try new things and that hard work certainly pays off.”
Tilah has some solid goals and said she is striving for a few more wins at local level. However, her main goal is to eventually be selected in the State squad.
“I have been fortunate enough to be training with Katelyn Inch from Kawana Bowls Club and have developed new skills.
“I am dedicated to continue to work hard, learn from the players around me and take on any new challenges that arise and I’m excited about my future in bowls.”
When asked what she wanted others to know about the sport, she said she felt at home when playing bowls. “I just love the community.
“I would like to encourage other young people to pick up a bowl and change their perception as I once had that bowls is for the olds!”