College Sport: Jack's king of the greens...

By Campbell Burnes

Graduating to senior ranks finds teen in experienced company.
Lawn bowler Jack Green, 15, from Albany Senior High School. Picture / Jason Oxenham
Lawn bowler Jack Green, 15, from Albany Senior High School. Picture / Jason Oxenham

It doesn't matter that Jack Green has to celebrate any senior lawn bowling success with a lemonade, while his older teammates toast with something stronger.

The 15-year-old Albany Senior High student is just happy to soak up all the knowledge he can as he makes his way up the ranks. He is now classed as a fully-fledged senior bowler, after five years as a junior.

But Green has already made a big impact. Ranked the No1 collegiate bowler in North Harbour " the reigning singles and pairs champion " one of his career highlights was winning the North Harbour Champion of Champion senior triples last year with two other bowlers from his home club of Mairangi Bay (he is also a member at Browns Bay).

Last week, he and his bowls partner from Albany Senior High were runners-up in the Anne Hartley tournament at Browns Bay.

He gets strong family support. His mother Pamela has hardly missed a tournament, and there are plenty of them, with events on almost every weekend through summer.

Green has also tasted the atmosphere of the club nationals in Christchurch earlier this season and reached the post-section at the New Zealand Open.

He loves playing with older, more experienced bowlers, none more so than Browns Bay member Brent Turner, one of North Harbour's most decorated bowlers, who will be with Green at next month's Australian Open on the Gold Coast.

"You meet some amazing people, people that you aspire to be like. Quite a lot of younger players are coming through, even though there is still that stereotypical view of bowlers being older with little athletic ability," says Green. He does not fit that latter category, good enough to play golf to a handicap of five until an ankle injury last year.

Green does cop the odd sledge from older bowlers, but he appears to be good at switching off when required.

"When the other player is bowling, I try and pretend they are not there. I'll assess the head afterwards, otherwise you waste a lot of energy and your mind is off your game and on to theirs," Green says.

He can vary his game too, and is not averse to being aggressive if the situation demands it.

"It depends who you are playing against and how you are feeling on the day, but I don't mind throwing in a few drives. That said, good draw bowls is the way to win."

The plan for Green is to compete in the men's singles, pairs and fours, plus the Under 18s, on the Gold Coast, return to defend his North Harbour schools singles and pairs titles at the end of June, and then have an operation to tidy up his ankle before the 2016-17 bowls season gets under way again in October.

His personal coach Howard Sandler says Green has got the X-factor, and has the talent to be a Black Jack in four years.

"He's got the mental ability and he listens. The Australian Open will be tough, but he's playing with some good people," say Sandler.

Green is in for the long haul: "It's a sport I'll always play unless I physically can't."

- NZ Herald

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