The young team of the future were crowned winners of the triples celebrating the history of Whanganui's greatest bowler, as the Ryman Healthcare Peter Belliss tribute tournament was decided this afternoon.

The Easter tournament acknowledged the 50 year anniversary of the start of Belliss' career, during which he has won three world titles, with teams coming from Canterbury, Auckland, Tauranga, Wellington, Whangarei, Taranaki and Horowhenua to take part.

Bowls NZ sent two official teams, which included players who had come from Gore and even Australia to compete on the greens of the Laird Park, Gonville and Aramoho bowling clubs.

Among the luminaries was former All Black player and coach Alex Wyllie, who teamed with current Black Jack Gary Lawson and their fellow Canterbury representative Ricky Cook.


Lawson gave a speech for Belliss at the gala dinner honouring him at Aramoho Bowling Club yesterday evening.

After a long and distinguished rugby career, 'Grizz' Wyllie could not recall much of the 1974 Wanganui vs Canterbury match where he faced Belliss as opposing No8's, but this is much the same as Belliss' half century of globe-trotting bowls means he would not remember everyone who played him either.

Starting on Good Friday, the tournament progressed through to post section play yesterday, when wet weather caused a nearly two hour delay, with the final round being at 9am this morning before the finals got underway at 12.30pm.

At 6am, the greens at Aramoho BC were still covered in water, but club members came out with the squeegee mops to make sure play could get underway on time.

Belliss, his brother John Bellis and their partner Norm Scott-Morrison made it through to the penultimate matchup, but were eliminated to finish third overall in Section A.

The final was between the Wanganui BC team of veterans Ray Park, Ray Savage and Alan Dickson, taking on the Black Jacks Development squad of Taylor Horn, Natasha Russell and Finba McGuigan.

Ultimately, young development team proved too accurate, leading 15-5 with two ends remaining when the pin was pulled.

The success of the event has encouraged Aramoho BC to consider hosting an annual Easter triples tournament.