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Locker Room: Sheppeard still bowling them over at 90

Locker Room

Feeling blue: Some Canberra residents missed out on watching the NSW Blues' win in the State of Origin because of a blackout.

Feeling blue: Some Canberra residents missed out on watching the NSW Blues' win in the State of Origin because of a blackout. Photo: Getty Images

Bert Sheppeard turns 90 years old on Sunday and the lawn bowls legend's right arm is still terrorising opponents, but a bullet in World War II almost took the limb. Sheppeard's club, Canberra North, will hold a birthday bash to celebrate on Sunday, but Sheppeard still plans to be playing at the age of 100 if his current form is anything to go by. Sheppeard and Ray McInnes won the club's pairs championships last Saturday and it was only six years ago he won the prestigious ACT champion-of-champions title. Sheppeard is lucky to still be on the greens after being shot in Borneo in 1945. "I picked up a Japanese machinegun bullet there and it hospitalised me for six months, but I got through it and was able to continue," Sheppeard said. "It was my right side that was affected, the bullet went through my shoulder and the top of my right arm and out through the back. I was lucky to recover enough to be able to use the arm after six months in plaster, so to be able to get through it to play bowls or almost do anything was quite an achievement, and I was a bit lucky, I suppose." While it took a long time to get his arm back in action, he's been using it to inflict pain on bowlers around the ACT for even longer. It's how he picked up his nickname, "The Terrorist". "When I get into trouble I usually drive to get out of trouble, and I've pretty much perfected that shot and somebody along the road just happened to mention, 'You're a bit of a terrorist', and it's stuck," he said. Everyone is invited along to Sunday's party at Canberra North. There will be a social game starting 10.30am.

Walters delivers punchline

Who was the toughest, most intimidating player to ever represent the Raiders? Legendary hooker and larrikin Steve Walters reckons it was him, putting the crowd in stitches at Friday night's 20-year premiership reunion at Canberra Stadium. Mind you, Walters' assessment came with a footnote. "Yeah I used to tell opponents to 'shut up, or we'll knock you out'," he said, pointing to his fearsome prop partner and bodyguard, John Lomax. Lomax, of course, missed the 1994 grand final after being suspended for a high shot on North Sydney Bears forward Billy Moore in the preliminary final. Paul Osborne reckons he was the only person in Canberra celebrating when his good mate Lomax was suspended, because it led to him being called up and eventually becoming a Canberra grand-final hero. Plenty of legends were there, including Laurie Daley, who was fresh (or not so fresh) from the State of Origin victory on Wednesday night. He presented the Raiders jersey to rookie winger Brenko Lee. Mal Meninga was a late apology, having to skip off to Papua New Guinea on business.

Staying: Carly Wilson is set to re-sign with the Caps.

Staying: Carly Wilson is set to re-sign with the Caps. Photo: Katherine Griffiths

Roller derby's double-up

Talking of tough, the girls in the Canberra Roller Derby League (CRDL) are upping the ante and looking for double-trouble when the season starts next weekend, on June 28. The CRDL will have double-headers every round this season, meaning all four teams will be belting each other around in the bouts on rollerskates. First whistle next week will be at Tuggeranong's Southern Cross Stadium at 4pm, with the Surly Griffins against the Brindabelters. Then at 6.15pm, last year's champions the Black ’n’ Blue Belles take on the Red Bellied Black Hearts. It all sounds very nasty, but the girls really do have a soft side. The CRDL is supporting the Heart Foundation’s Go Red for June campaign to raise awareness for women’s heart disease, and is encouraging all spectators to come along with something red. Other bouts this season will be held on August 16 and September 20. The grand final will be on October 25.

Mills, the one that got away

Going strong: Canberra bowler Bert Sheppeard will celebrate his 90th birthday on Sunday.

Going strong: Canberra bowler Bert Sheppeard will celebrate his 90th birthday on Sunday. Photo: Jeffrey Chan

His jump shot in the NBA finals made him more famous, and it seems everyone now wants to jump on the Patty Mills bandwagon. After his starring role for the San Antonio Spurs in the championship clincher, the AFL put up a video of a 15-year-old Mills playing for the ACT at the national junior championships in 2004. AFL development guru Kevin Sheehan said: "He won the best and fairest award, the same award won by [Geelong skipper] Joel Selwood [in 2003]. He made all Australian honours ... We didn't have a competitive offer for a 15-year-old from the ACT. He joined the AIS basketball program. I've got no doubt [he would have made it]. He had all the attributes and skillset to make it in the game. He ticked all of the boxes to be a future AFL star. Patty remains the one that got away." You can check out the footage of a teenage Mills as an Aussie rules star here.

Blackout for Blues fans 

NSW Blues fans have been waiting since 2005 to watch a State of Origin series victory, so plenty of northside rugby league fans were furious when six suburbs were hit with a blackout on Wednesday night. With about four minutes left in the match and NSW leading by two points, all the power went out in Florey, Belconnen, Latham, Macquarie, Page and Weetangera. It was the moment just as Queensland's Johnathan Thurston and NSW five-eighth Josh Reynolds were about to headbutt each other. The power stayed off while NSW clinched an historic series victory and didn't come back on until midnight.

Larrikin: Steve Walters and Drina Stewart at the Raiders' 1994 grand-final reunion on Friday.

Larrikin: Steve Walters and Drina Stewart at the Raiders' 1994 grand-final reunion on Friday. Photo: Jay Cronan

Wilson to stay with Caps

The Canberra Capitals' roster is starting to come together in the lead up to the club's bid to add an eighth WNBL championship to its trophy cabinet. League life member Carly Wilson is set to re-sign with the Capitals in the coming days. It's understood Wilson has committed to a letter of offer with the Capitals and it just has to be ticked off before she joins Lauren Jackson, Abby Bishop, Stephanie Talbot and Hanna Zavecz in an intimidating Canberra line-up. The Capitals and University of Canberra have teamed up this year, and the chance to finish her nutrition degree convinced Australian Opal Zavecz to sign with the Capitals.

Serve and volley anyone?

Ready to roll: The Canberra Roller Derby League starts June 28.

Ready to roll: The Canberra Roller Derby League starts June 28.

Call him a tennis traditionalist, but Canberra's Dave Briggs staged a tournament in Melba on Saturday, which he hopes might have a future. Appropriately staged on the eve of Wimbledon, Briggs' initiative is called the Super Serve Volley tournament, and rules state players must serve and volley on every point – or automatically lose the point. Eight division one ACT players were invited to the tournament. Briggs hopes the concept will eventually become popular. He began the tournament in 2006, and it was last played in 2009. He came up with the idea after watching Australia's Pat Rafter narrowly lose to Goran Ivanisevic in the 2001 Wimbledon final. "The goal of this tournament was, and is, to challenge tennis players to have to serve volley every point and also keep the serve-volley dream alive in modern day tennis," Briggs said.

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