Bowls: Father and son half of winning four

Cabramatta's Matthew Gallop in action at the men's national fours final at the National Bowls Championships at the Taieri Bowling Club, Mosgiel, yesterday. Photo by NZPA.
Cabramatta's Matthew Gallop in action at the men's national fours final at the National Bowls Championships at the Taieri Bowling Club, Mosgiel, yesterday. Photo by NZPA.
Matt Gallop was 10 when he watched his father win the New Zealand men's fours title in 1998.

After the fours yesterday, he joined his father on the winners' podium at the Taieri headquarters' green.

"That was the reason I started playing bowls," Matt (23), a semi-professional bowler with the Cabramatta club in Sydney, said.

"It was special to play with Dad today. It was unreal. He taught me everything I know about bowls."

It was also special for his father, Lloyd (54), a Blenheim carpenter, who won his second New Zealand title after 33 years of bowls. He has won 33 Marlborough centre titles.

"It was a very proud moment," Lloyd said. "It took time to sink in that I'd done it with my son.

"Not many fathers and sons get the opportunity."

The winners of the men's national fours final are (from left) Lloyd Gallop, Matthew Gallop, Ali Forsyth amd Graham Hood. Photo by Jane Dawber.
The winners of the men's national fours final are (from left) Lloyd Gallop, Matthew Gallop, Ali Forsyth amd Graham Hood. Photo by Jane Dawber.
Lloyd's first national title, in Wellington in 1998, was even more poignant.

"I replaced my brother Kevin in the team when he died of leukaemia. It was a very emotional time.

"When Kevin died at the age of 46 in 1997 it was one of his wishes that I should take his place."

Kevin Gallop was a top bowler and finished runner-up to Ivan Kostanich in the national open singles championship in 1993.

Lloyd used to take Matt to the green from a young age to watch bowls.

"He was aged 11 when he told me that if he has to attend another national championships he wanted to play," Lloyd said.

"He had been around the game for a long time and liked the people."

Matt won two Marlborough centre titles with his father before he shifted to Sydney 18 months ago.

He won the men's trophy for being the most consistent male bowler at the championships in Dunedin. He reached the last 16 in the singles and was runner-up in the pairs. He was also runner-up in the pairs with Chris Le Lievre two years ago.

His team beat a North East Valley combination 18-11.

"I know how disappointing it is and what it feels like to lose.

"There is no way I wanted to repeat that experience today."