Victorians Bec Martin and Adam Hayes found love on the bowling lanes when they were both going through difficult times in their lives. It was the beginning of an eight-year relationship and a bowling powerhouse after they discovered happiness in one another.
“Adam and I did meet through bowling, however, we never actually knew each other until much later in our bowling careers. I took some time off to have my children and always felt like I was missing something within myself. When I came back to the sport after a near 10 year hiatus, a mutual friend put me in contact with Adam to get some gear drilled, and we became great friends. We have been together for close to 8 years now,” said Martin.
Hayes and Martin both have three children from previous relationships. Hayes’ children, ages 26, 21, and 14, never developed an interest or passion for bowling. On the other hand, Martin’s three sons share their mother’s love for the lanes.
“My children are 19, 16, and 13. I never wanted to force the kids to bowl because it was my passion, not theirs. Brayden has definitely found this love, and I’m having a great time watching him grow and succeed. Caleb is now in a junior league and will be the first to volunteer to sub in our adult league. Jacob dabbled in bowling in the past, but stepped away for a while until recently when he found himself back in the league once a week.” said Martin.
It’s difficult to imagine Martin and Hayes juggling six children, full-time jobs, and bowling practice. Martin describes a typical week for the two as “HECTIC,” with Hayes working as a Bowling Pro-shop owner, Martin working multiple jobs, and both competing and training.
“I work multiple jobs, play league twice a week (training after league where possible), and training on a Sunday. A lot of our weekends are taken up with tournaments again now that COVID-19 lockdowns are over. Throw being a mum into the mix, it doesn’t leave time for much else,” said Martin.
With so much going on in their lives, Martin and Hayes were over the moon to be selected to the Australian team and represent their country together at the Australian IBF World Cup. Martin and Haynes will be wearing the green and gold for the fourth time, but it’s their first time as a couple.
“Tears were definitely shed when we heard the news of the selection for the World Cup Team. We know it’s a rarity that as a couple we are able to share such an experience. We both worked so hard on and off the lanes to have given us the best chance of selection,” said Martin.
“One thing we’ve always wanted to do was represent together. I’ve been lucky enough to bowl for Australia three times, but we’ve never been on the same team together, for various reasons. When we heard the World Cup was here and we both were having good years, it was going to be the best opportunity,” added Hayes.
Martin and Hayes will bring a wealth of experience to the IBF World Cup. With the additional challenge of this year’s event featuring the Baker Format for the first time, the couple still believes in the Australian team’s strength as well as their own to be able to bring home the gold.
“We are extremely lucky that everyone in this team has an abundance of experience so we are all going into this newly formatted World Cup the best prepared we can be,” said Martin.
“Bowling internationally can be a bit of a trial by fire. We’ve both done our tough times and learned from them. We are definitely better for the experience and I’ve bowled my share of the Baker format too. We have a great team and I’m sure our connection will be great. This will be my fourth time and I’ve never been keener and more confident to do well,” Hayes added.
This year’s Australian IBF World Cup team features world number one Jason Belmonte and Australian number one Sam Cooley, among others. Hayes first bowled with Belmonte and Cooley at the 2017 World Combined Championships.
“It’s funny because the first time I represented Australia, I was ridiculously nervous. Jason is a true sporting legend and the best there is. Sam’s progress over the last few years has been astounding, to the point where he is now one of the best in the world and a bit of a hero of mine,” said Hayes.
“Jason was incredible at Worlds in 2017, he took the captain’s role and ran with it, giving the team everything he had, it was incredible to see and be a part of.
“I believe we are all fairly acquainted with one another; Sam and I have been bowling against each other all year and are aware of each other’s strengths and weaknesses. We’re getting close, and with Jason’s leadership, I’m really excited about what we can accomplish.”
Martin will be bowling with teammate and close friend Bec Whiting, a relationship that has been mutually supportive over the years.
“Bec has stuck by me through thick and thin and we have formed a very special friendship. It means the world to be able to bowl alongside her in the green and gold again.
“We know each other’s games back to front and that can only help us along the way,” said Martin.