There have been many highlights in 40 years of competition for Nelson Bay Bowling Club member Grahame Lewis, one being the rather unique record of having played in all seven pennant grades.
Lewis, who followed his parents into the sport when aged in his mid-20s, said that he was grateful to have been introduced to the sport of lawn bowls at a relatively young age and that he owed much to the Nelson Bay club, which he has been fortunate to represent over the past three decades.
"I have enjoyed every minute of my time playing bowls, whether its social, club or pennants, and I particularly love the challenges the game provides during competition and the camaraderie among team members. You get to meet a lot of characters along the way," the 63-year-old from Bobs Farm said.
"I guess having played in all seven pennant grades is a rather unique achievement, but don't ask me how many pennants I have won ... there's been three I think," Lewis added.
The modest bowler has also taken out the Nelson Bay club's major singles, pairs and triple titles over the years.
Lewis was last month part of the Nelson Bay team to claim the No 7 pennant district title, following an intense 10-week competition culminating in a finals victory played on home soil.
Nelson Bay finished on top of its four-team pool having defeated friendly rivals Fingal Bay, Tea Gardens and Lowlands before going on to convincingly defeat pool B winners Alder Park, 70-37 in the final.
Fortunately for Nelson Bay, the club will also host the No 7 state pennant championships to comprise the best 16 teams from all over NSW from July 26-28.
Bowls organiser Richard Girvan said that in addition to the 192 bowlers who will converge on to the Bay for the weekend, the tournament is expected to attract hundreds more family members, friends and supporters.
"This is the second year in a row the club is hosting a state final series in conjunction with Port Stephens Council and following on from last year's successful series, we are expecting another hugely competitive three days," he said.
"Each club will bring four teams of four players. The top two teams from each section will then compete in the quarter finals to be held on Saturday afternoon with the semi-finals and finals scheduled for Sunday.
"Of course we would like to see as many locals to come along and enjoy three days of bowls action and support the Nelson Bay team.
"Hosting a state pennant final series is a great honour for Nelson Bay and we would hope that the Bay community can get behind us."
Having won the No 6 pennant flag last year, Nelson Bay is hoping it can go back-to-back with a No 7 crown in 2019.