Veterans find their place at table

By Zac Yates

A decline in entries seems to be a recurring theme at the 2013 NZ Masters Games, and pool organiser Jeff Bullus said his sport was no exception.

With a history organising 8 ball tournaments going back more than 30 years and involvement in the Masters since 1993, the Tokoroa man said numbers were definitely down.

"It's just a shame. We still have some great people playing but there are definitely less than last time."

Wanganui man Ralph Ingle, who at 83 was the oldest competitor at the RSA pool tables yesterday, said he was sad to see the numbers drop off.

"It's hard to say what it is. For some I guess it can be the cost, because that's always going up, but for older folks you reach a point where you just can't do it.

"I'm one of the lucky ones that I can still keep doing it at my age."

The retired banker, who shifted to Wanganui from Taihape 40 years ago, said he and playing partner Peter Fraser had been playing for years.

"We normally play every Wednesday afternoon, just to fill in time while our wives are out playing tennis. It's a great way to spend an afternoon.

"We really enjoy being here and if we win, that's a bonus, but if we don't we won't mind because these other blokes are so good," Ingle said.

Another pair of seasoned players are Kim Bulwer and Lance Smith, both members of the four-strong Petone Club Pool Adjunct team. The pair competed in the men's 8 ball pairs event yesterday after a strong showing the day before.

"This is my first time playing pool at the Masters, and yesterday I got a bronze in the 9 ball singles and a silver in the 9 ball doubles, and Lance got a silver in the 8 ball singles," Bulwer said.

"We actually ended up playing each other in the quarter-finals yesterday. It's a long way to travel just to play each other."

He said the female contingent from his club had been doing well too, winning a couple of golds and silvers between them.

At the 2011 Masters Games Bulwer raced in the mountainbike cross country.

"I was doing okay but I had a crash and couldn't finish. My mates then talked me into doing the downhill even though I wasn't entered, because they all know I'm a bit of a nutter on the bike.

"I ended up getting bronze."

- Wanganui Chronicle

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