Mullewa, Wonthella to honour former players Murphy, Johnson with memorial match as Batavia bowls resume

Joe CriddleGeraldton Guardian
Jean Murphy, the widow of Charlie Murphy, and Shirley Johnson, the mother of Paul Johnson, hold the Murphy/Johnson Cup.
Camera IconJean Murphy, the widow of Charlie Murphy, and Shirley Johnson, the mother of Paul Johnson, hold the Murphy/Johnson Cup. Credit: Supplied

A country versus city clash will decide the fate of a special trophy this weekend when the Batavia Bowling League plays its first round of men’s pennants for the year.

Mullewa and Wonthella Green will provide the highlight of round 12 as they play for the first-ever memorial Murphy/Johnson Cup.

The inaugural trophy match will honour the memories of Charlie Murphy and Paul Johnson.

Murphy played top-flight soccer for Everton FC in England and was recruited to play in Melbourne in 1974 before moving to Geraldton

His bowling career started the late 1970s with his talent coming to light in 1984 when he claimed the club championship singles, pairs and triples at St Kilda.

He was president at St Kilda from 1982 to 1985 before moving west, where he won multiple championships at Wonthella and Mullewa.

He was also a representative player for the league and a long-term president, committee member and volunteer at Wonthella.

Paul Johnson, a standout performer in football, golf and basketball, started playing corporate bowls at Wonthella about six years ago and then joined Mullewa to play competitively.

He joined his father, Colin, brother in-law, Anthony and nephews Regan and Aidan at the club.

Johnson won the novice singles and, for Mullewa, a major singles title and was also runner-up in the league’s Champions of Champions and represented the league.

Organiser Gary Preston said the cup game would become a regular fixture on the league calendar. He said the Murphy and Johnson families were very happy the event had come to light.

He said both players were known as larrikins who were dedicated to having a good time but had hearts of gold and would help anyone and their clubs.

The match will be played on the Wonthella greens.

Johnson died in December. Murphy died of cancer several years ago.

Mullewa are in fourth on 38 points and are hoping to put further space between themselves and the Green Machine, who sit three points behind in fifth.

Elsewhere, multiple sides remain in the race but any slip-up could prematurely end hopes of playing finals at Denison in March

Top-of-the-table Geraldton Red (43 points) cross town to play second-placed Wonthella Gold.

Just one point separates the sides.

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