Dot and Jim Gupanis
Jim pictured above with his lovely Lady Dorothy

March 26, 2010

Jim Gupanis was working at a supermarket one day when the Coca Cola rep came in and had a yarn. “Jimmy,” he said, “How about joining me at the bowling club one Sunday for a few drinks?” At the time, Jim was building a house in Yokine, so he joined the Coca Cola man, Dave Lyle, at the Yokine Bowling Club one Sunday morning, where he was introduced to the game of bowls and, true to his word, Dave bought a drink.

And that was the start of Jim Gupanis's thirty five year association with bowls......

A better than handy tennis player at North Perth, where he had won the singles championship three years in a row, and Alexander Park, he took to the new sport like a duck to water. After using borrowed bowls initially, Gupanis bought a new set of Henselites for seventy dollars, and never looked back, winning the club singles after three years, then the pairs. Teaming with Stan Kimberley, he made it to the final of a State pairs,losing to the Alexander Park combination of Gil Sayers and Eric Elliott.

Gupanis had become friends with Lindsay Thorne, Dennis Katuna-Rich, Col Lindsay, and Frank Harrison, and he was persuaded to join them at Scarborough. “Scarborough was a very strong club in those days,”he said. “They had two sides in top red, and more in other top divisions.” He was runner up in the club singles three times at Scarborough, being beaten by Peter Witton, Jim Yates, and Keith Guelfi.

He then spent a year at Osborne Park, before a phone call from Dave Henneker at City Beach prompted another move. City Beach were on a promotion drive, and also recruited Andy Tucker, Bob Stephen, and Mike Yates. The amalgamation with Floreat Park strengthened the club, and Jim was happy there, but when the phone at the Gupanis residence rang with someone from Bedford on the line with a coaching offer, he was on the road again.

After two years with the Bulls, another offer from Stirling last season saw him in their colours.

Jim Gupanis has been a prominent bowler for a long time, and his achievements are many. He was a member of two State sides, and played second for Dennis Katuna-Rich in Brisbane and in Melbourne. He won club championship singles at Yokine and North Beach, and was twice runner up in the Champion of Champions event.

Jim in action during an Interstate game

He won a State pairs with Lindsay Thorn, defeating David Armstrong and Barry Parker, and two State Fours, the first with, Tony Krajancic, Geoff Ellis, and Len Krajancic, and the last with Ellis, Geoff Oakley, and Ron Kuzeila.

With the latter three, he played off in the Champion Of Champions at Queanbeyen, and won. With Stan Kimberley, Roy Bayliss, and Len Welch he was runner up in the State Fours.

Jim Gupanis won three Masters Pairs events, the first two with Neville Faulkner, and Geoff Ellis.

“I was rolling up one afternoon, when Geoff Oakley strolled past,” he related. “I called to Geoff, “come and join me.” I said: “You've won all the Masters events, haven't you?” He said “no, I haven't, there's one I haven't won, and I don't think I ever will.

It riles me.” I said, “It's the pairs, isn't it?” and he nodded. “How about you and me going in it?” I asked, and Geoff said “OK”.

“We won the Masters Pairs, and Geoff reckoned it was the jewel in his crown.”

Jim had another memory to share.

“I was playing pennants at Mt Lawley, against Geoff Waters,”he said. “We were well up approaching the end of the game, when on a particular end there were three touchers in the ditch jammed in a triangle, touching each other, two of them Mt Lawley bowls, and one City Beach.

The jack was on the green, and Geoff went for a last bowl drive, hitting the jack.. The kitty jacknifed between the ditched bowls, bounced, and came to rest on top of the three ditch bowls.”

“There was plenty of argument about who had the shot, and of course no one did, but it was a sight to see.”

Jim rated Bert Sharp, “it's not what he won, but the way he played,” Dennis Katuna-Rich, Frank Perry, Paul Richards, and Mark Krajancic as the best he'd seen.

At 76, Jim Gupanis is still playing at a high level. In his forty one years as a prominent bowler in the sport he has achieved most of what the game in this State has to offer, with many young players receiving the benefit of his coaching.

Jim Gupanis and Dennis Katunarich runner up to the Kat in the Masters Singles in 1989 at Royal Park.

Jim Gupanis and Dennis Katunarich