Indoor bowls: A sport with little margin for error

By Greg Taipari

Many wouldn't believe it but indoor bowls can actually be on the edge stuff - just ask Rotorua bowler Phillip Stirrup.

Phillip competed in the annual Indoor Bowls Hams tournament held at the Rotorua Girls' High School Arena at the weekend.

He's a member of the Owhata Indoor Bowling Club who host the event which saw 28 fours teams and 56 pairs teams take part in the two day event which wrapped up yesterday.

Phillip, who played outdoor bowls for more than 18 years, took up the indoor version just four years ago along with his wife Lina.

"One of the ladies who worked with [Lina] at the rest home asked for some people to come along to make up the numbers. They knew I played bowls before and now here I am today, back into it again."

Phillip said both indoor and outdoor games were equally as challenging and enjoyable.

He has taken part in the Hams tournament for the last four years, which sees teams from the Waikato and Poverty Bay regions taking part.

"It's a very strong competition but we have plenty of fun."

With the mat dimensions about 6.7m long by 1.8m wide there isn't a lot of room to make mistakes.

In the fours on Saturday, Phillip played alongside his wife and was joined in the team by (captain) Alan Gordon and Lee Sanderson.

The team got away to a good start, beating a North Harbour side 13-5 in their opening nine end match.

Captained by Gordon, the four worked well together with Lina lead bowler, Sanderson second, Phillip third and Gordon as skip (last bowler).

The Owhata side were not afraid to use the very edge of the mat on several occasions.

Although they would go on to win this game and one other, Phillip's side would draw one and lose two games to be out of contention for the finals, played between Tatuanui, Morrinsville and Gate Pa, Tauranga.

The Morrinsville side, made up of John Frelan, Darryn Bell, Ray Watt and Kevin Childs eventually took out the fours' title on Saturday.

In the pairs finals yesterday, it was Wairangi Bay's Lynda Mills and Barbara Button who beat Tatuanui fours finalists and winners Watt and Childs.

This annual tournament has become a popular fixture on the indoor bowls calendar for bowlers from throughout the North Island.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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