It's bad enough losing to the Ockers but give them a helping hand and you can imagine how costly an exercise that can be in sport.

So when the dust settled - or should that be when the fog lifted and the dew evaporated at the Kia Toa Bowling Club greens on Saturday morning - the bowls players from the Hastings club were left licking their wounds after facing the Australian Armaroos to the tune of a 5-0 loss.

"Oh don't mention the score. You can just write it was good competition but the Aussies proved to be too strong on the day," a chuckling Armaroo, Rodney Egge, said last night from Taupo.

But the truth is, banter aside, there were no losers here on Saturday as the touring arm bowlers showed the Kia Toa members some of the benefits of using the artificial contraptions.


Kia Toa club captain David Harding said last night there were huge advantages in using the three types of arms that require a doctor's medical certificate in Australia for the aged and infirm to compete alongside regular bowls players.

"People need to realise what an asset they are," said Harding, although the club did not request a workshop from the Armaroos on how to use the devices despite four of their members employing the technology in regular club competitions.

The 68-year-old retired insurance manager from Hastings said their club would embrace players wanting to use the devices which allow them to compete, although he wasn't sure how Bowls New Zealand would respond to that.

"People will have to wake up to it."

Harding said the DHB (Dean Has Been or The Black Hacksaw), Drake's Pride and Bionic Bowler would help "dumpers" and save the club oodles of money.

"The cost of an artificial green today is $240,000," he said, emphasising that when people couldn't kneel down anymore to release deliveries from a mat they tended to dump the weighty sphere from a height, thus scarring the grass greens.

Harding was mindful the Aussies had to push for acceptance from their national body but also help to remove any stigma attached to converting to the arms to make the move a success there. He envisaged it wouldn't be any different in New Zealand but certainly do-able.

Reciprocity is the name of the game and Kia Toa are already talking about taking a contingent to Queensland after a group toured Norfolk Island for a tourney last year.

"The Aussies came here with very high standards and it was great to have players of such calibre competing at our club," he said of the undefeated tourists, who play at the Taupo Bowling Club in the fourth leg today of their inaugural six-match series that'll take in Hamilton and Auckland before returning across the Tasman.

For the record, the 16 Armaroos didn't muck around in game one, winning 30-8, but the hosts fought back in the remaining four - 19-10, 14-11, 22-21, 22-16.

"They won that one [third game] on the last end with our players holding a couple so it was close."

Egge saluted the club as excellent hosts, singling out Harding and president Ray Zajonskowski because without them the leg would not have eventuated.

"This is the first trip and it's open doors so who knows where it takes us.

"Hopefully it'll open a few minds and numbers will grow here for them to have a New Zealand team so a cross-Tasman series will just be brilliant," said the 70-year-old, who is a retired businessman from Adelaide.

Egge said the Armaroos' ascendancy against clubs here was understandable because the tourists selected from about 10,000 arm bowlers in Australia, whereas a club membership didn't exceed 100 or so.

The time at Kia Toa left some indelible impressions on the Aussies.

"Actually we've never seen greens like here before," said Egge. "Because of the dew they were white and heavy so when you bowl it leaves a track mark."

The Aussies were so amazed they actually took photographs of the trails because they struggled when the dew dried up and the greens slowed down.

Harding echoed the sentiments, finding it peculiar in that they would have expected the balls to slow down in the dew and pick up when dry.

Egge said the arms dispelled any suggestions that only weak players needed the devices but the assistance actually took them to a standard higher than they had as regular bowlers.

The tourists were thrilled to see a "council assist lady" help them with parking and directions to Hastings city during the sightseeing part of their excursion.

"We thought she was going to give us a ticket or something," Egge said with a laugh. The Oak Avenue in Hastings, with its 150-year-old trees, was "absolutely magnificent" in a "small town", he added.