Bowls: Wilson up for challenge

By Ben Guild

New Zealand Indoor Bowls representative Fiona Wilson needs all the practice she can get ahead of a transtasman face-off across the ditch in May.

Luckily her employers, Page and Macrae Engineering, have allowed her to place a mat in the smoko room of their Mount Maunganui offices.

Too bad the staff will not play her. "They come up and say they can beat me, and I tell them that they can try if they like," said Wilson.

"They haven't actually challenged me yet - they're all say and no do."

Wilson, who debuted for New Zealand during the drawn biannual test with Australia in Balclutha in 2011 after being named as a reserve in 2009, has been named as the woman's singles player and skipper of the women's eight ball pairs.

That elevation seems unlikely to daunt her after skippering a North Island side she has been a part of since 2001, though Wilson is under no illusions of the test that awaits against Australia.

"A lot of it is mental - you've got to think the whole time, and then have the skill as well.

"If you don't have the mentally, or the fitness mentally, it's pretty tough. That's what drains you the most."

Adding to the test will be the use of a surface that is foreign to both nations. Both countries use different matting in domestic competitions, so a compromise hybrid will be used for the international to be held in Morayfield, Queensland from May 16-18.

Wilson admits to having struggled with the transformation last time, but believes that to have been a mental matter that no longer affects her.

She says the toughest proposition this time will be forming a new doubles combination, with regular partner Lisa White unavailable due to lawn bowls commitments.

"It is a little bit daunting this time to play with a partner that I've never played with before, but with our experience we should be fine.

"We've got a training camp coming up and then that three days in Australia when we get there, so that should help us as well."

Wilson is intent on bringing home the Henselite Trophy retained by Australia in the 2011 drawn series, before continuing to help promote the sport in schools. The president of the Tauranga Indoor Bowls Association helped get indoor bowls into the AIMS Games two years ago and forming a junior programme with a player base that is expected to double to about 350 players this year.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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