Joan Firkins will represent the Oak Bay Lawn Bowling Club at the Champ of Champs tournament at Juan de Fuca in September after winning the recent Hadfield Women’s Club Singles tournament. This is the second Hadfield title for Firkins, who also won the tournament in 2008.
Firkins has a long history in competitive sports, from curling quite a bit in her younger years to playing on the Canadian national women’s softball team from ’72 to ’77. When she retired from a 40-year career at the Bank of Montreal, she decided to try something a little different.
“A friend suggested I might like lawn bowls given my background as a pitcher in women’s softball,” she said. “So I attended an open house at the Oak Bay club in 2001.” Firkins joined the following year and has been bowling ever since.
In addition to her two-time Hadfield wins, Firkins also won the provincial championships in mixed pairs with her bowls partner Harnam Grewal in 2007, and from there the two travelled to Fredericton, New Brunswick to compete in the Canadian championships, where they placed fifth overall.
“(It was) a week of intense bowling and fellowship,” she said. “A memorable experience for us both.”
Though Firkins will continue to compete in a number of tournaments throughout the next month and a half, she hasn’t lost sight of playing for the fun of it, and neither has the club, she said. Every week the Oak Bay Lawn Bowling Club hosts a free social night for those interested in learning more about lawn bowls.
“It starts at 6 p.m. on Friday night, and the public is welcome to drop in, get a bit of coaching, get in a game, and then after get in a bit of social time. It’s amazing how many people are dropping in on Friday nights,” said Firkins, adding that just two weeks prior they’d had Mayor Nils Jensen drop by for a bowl.
Off the pitch, Firkins has been an influential member of Oak Bay society for a number of years, in particular with the Rotary club. She is past president and still heavily involved with the society’s many projects. Travelling extensively over the last three years for her position, she recently returned from Sydney, Australia and the world convention for Rotary International, attended by 18,500 members.
“Right now our club is involved in a car raffle,” she said. “The draw is at the Oak Bay collector car festival on Sunday, Aug. 10.” The Rotary Clubs of Victoria and Oak Bay partnered to raise funds to support local projects in the greater Victoria community, said Firkins.
Between the two passions, Firkins keeps pretty busy.
“In a nutshell, Rotary and lawn bowls are my life!”