Barry Don

L/R: Don Brown & Barry Raynor after their State Pairs win

May 28, 2010

Many characters of the game have passed through the doors of the Sportsmens Club, and Barry Rayner is one of them. A consistent bowler with many carnival scalps over the years, his is not a name that appears on the prestige events honour boards, but he has always been a hard man to beat.....

“I never really went in a lot of State events, to be honest,” he said. “I always preferred the comaradarie of the carnivals.”

Rayner will be remembered as the surprise winner, with Don Brown, of the 1993 State Championship Pairs. “That was a fitting reward for a top player in Don Brown,” was his humble comment on the win.

A top grade opener with Mt Lawley in the WACA Pennant Competition for five years, Barry Rayner also played thirds football at East Perth before lining up with Scarborough and Inglewood in the Sunday League.

“I lived over the road from the Sportsmens Bowling Club, and my father in law (Jack Prosser) played there, so when I couldn't get a game of cricket I ambled over,” he explained. “With some expert instruction from Jack, Roy Gray, and Jack Wheelock I learnt the fundamentals of the game, as well as taking careful note of the bar prices.”

It was the beginning of a thirty seven year (with a couple of flirtations) membership of the Sportsmens Club for Barry. “I went to Wanneroo for two years, when Dennis Lynch and Cliff Guelfi talked me into moving north, and more recently a season at Yokine, but apart from that, Sporties has been my home,” he said.

Barry Raynor delivers another winner

Barry Raynor
Although winning just the one Club Championship Singles, Rayner has his name on every event at Sportsmens, as has his wife Audrey. Audrey Rayner won every club championship event in 2007, and almost did it again in 2008, failing only in the singles, in a close tussle. Audrey is a life member of the Sportsmens Association, being heavily involved in the “Lindy Awards,” and is a past President of that organisation. Both are life members of the Sportsmen's Bowling Club.

Barry has seen many bowls go down in his time in the game, and is a lover of a humorous situation.

Over to Barry: “This is a well known true story, which some of your readers may not have heard. One day at Manning, former football great, Ron Tucker collapsed on the green. Well known raconteur, Percy Gibbs, appraised the situation quickly and shouted to his partner: “don't move him, I'll draw around him.” It not only caused some mirth to all on the rink, it caused the hapless Tucker to recover and join in the humour of the moment.”

“Percy Gibbs again: When he told his skipper they were eight down, the skip protested vehemently: “I've still got one in my hand.” To which Percy replied: “I already counted that one.”

“I was playing in a State singles one year in a section with Jack Camm, Percy Gibbs, and Jim Yates at Forrest Park, a club that was better known for it's bar turnover than bowls activities. I was playing Jack Camm, and as the marker finally appeared from the bar, he fell into the ditch on the way out. Jack quipped, “Gentlemen, what have we here?”

“Meanwhile, next door, Percy and Jim's marker was in a spot of bother as well. On Perce's query: “up or down?”, the response came: “hang on, I'll look.” At which juncture he immediately fell facedown onto the head, causing bowls to splatter everywhere. Slowly raising himself, the official said: “better play it again.”

Barry has seen a lot of good players in his time, and for the best of them he couldn't separate Ron Taylor, Peter Sardelic, Steve Srhoy, Doug Arrowsmith, John Rainoldi, Dennis Katuna-Rich, Geoff Oakley, and Keith Doncon, while giving Anthony Provost a wrap as best he'd played with.

Barry Rayner's best days are behind him, with arthritis having an effect on his game, but for the many who crossed swords with him at carnivals in town and country over many years he has always been a tough competitor on the green but one of the nicest guys you'd meet.