Canadians find reception ‘unbelievable’

Bowls: Canadians find reception and hospitality ‘unbelievable’

  By Alistair McMurran on Thu, 6 Mar 2014

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Members of the Oak Bay Bowling Club, of Canada, pose for a group photo at the Mornington Bowling Club yesterday. Photo by Peter McIntosh.

Members of the Oak Bay Bowling Club, of Canada, pose for a group photo at the Mornington Bowling Club yesterday. Photo by Peter McIntosh.


The rain did not upset 31 bowlers from the Oak Bay Bowling Club, of Canada, when they played a friendly in Dunedin yesterday.

The club is making a three-week tour of New Zealand to play against six New Zealand clubs.

The team travels by bus and, before coming to Dunedin, played games against Remuera in Auckland, Arawa in Rotorua, and Island Bay in Wellington.

The bowlers travel to Queenstown today to play against the local club and will end the tour with a game against the Burnside Club in Christchurch.

Don Clark, a retired law professor from the University of Saskatchewan, is the leader of the group from the city of Victoria.

”We found the club after perusing New Zealand bowling clubs on the website,” he said.

”I got the impression that Mornington was a very friendly club.”

Mornington is one of only two clubs in the Bowls Dunedin Centre that has an all-weather green.

”I didn’t know that,”’ he said.

”It is the first experience we have had on this sort of green.

”We thought the rain would make it slower. We have learnt otherwise.”

The big difference the Oak Bay club members have found from bowls in Canada is the faster speed of the New Zealand greens.

”In Canada, we would regard a fast green as anything approaching 12 seconds,” Clark said.

”Here, we have had greens of 16 seconds and up.”

Mornington Bowling Club president Scott Gray said his members were honoured to host the Canadian bowlers.

”It’s the first time our club has hosted an overseas team. It’s a privilege to host the Oak Bay Club,”It is the first overseas trip by the Canadian club and the members have enjoyed it and are certain that it will not be the last.

”On the coach and in discussion at dinner afterwards it is clear that it won’t be long before the next tour,” Clark said.

”The reception and hospitality we have had is unbelievable.”

In Canada, bowls is a sport most people start in retirement.

”We all wish we had started decades earlier,” Clark said.

”We would have some bowlers with 10 to 12 years’ experience.”

Margaret Tomlinson is one of the new bowlers and has only been playing for two years.

”We normally play on grass in Canada. The surface has been challenging for us,” she said.

Gayle Wallach has been playing bowls for six years and liked playing on the $200,000 artificial turf once she got used to it.

It was the first visit to New Zealand for Gary Harvey, who has played bowls for seven years, and most of the team.

Clark is an exception. He is on his eighth trip to New Zealand.

”I have been on sabbatical visits from university, have run the Rotorua marathon and I was here for the Rugby World Cup,” he said.