Couple makes history on the bowling greens

History was recently made on the bowling greens at Reading Country Club when a husband-and-wife team walked away with the Open Singles Men & Women Championship titles.

Wim van Gils (73) and his wife Ursula (66) won the championships towards the end of 2016 and in doing so, became only the second married couple in the 78 year history of Reading to have achieved this. In 1982 Charlie and Rose Russak were the happy couple walking away with these coveted titles.

Talking to the Van Gils, it soon become abundantly clear that not only do they love their bowls, but they cherish the club, its members and the camaraderie they experience on the bowling greens and in the clubhouse. “This must be one of the friendliest clubs in the whole of Gauteng, we’ve been members here for 21 years and have absolutely no intention of ever moving to another club,” they passionately declare.

The Van Gils used to stay just across the road from the club in New Redruth, but five years ago packed up their home and moved to the Alberton Retirement Village. Wim, who before retirement was head of the South African Press Association, has won the Open Men’s Championships a whopping seven times whilst for Ursula it was a first.

Off the bowling greens, the couple enjoys a game of bridge, travelling through South Africa and loves watching sport such as cricket and tennis.

Will they ever retire from bowls – “not a chance,” they quickly remark.

Wim and Ursula van Gils, Reading Bowling Club’s 2016 champions.