Bowls: First Dunedin title for Barron

Rodger Barron in action at the Fairfield Bowling Club yesterday. Photo by Jane Dawber.
Rodger Barron in action at the Fairfield Bowling Club yesterday. Photo by Jane Dawber.
Rodger Barron has carried his family bowls heritage to a second generation and hopes his sons will continue the tradition.

Rodger (65), a retired butcher, shifted to Dunedin in 2005 and won his first Bowls Dunedin title this week in the Fairfield open triples team with Blair Barringer and Robbie Thomson.

But it is in South Otago that Rodger has continued the legacy that was established by his father and uncles. He has won 27 centre titles and is third on the South Otago honours board.

He won his first South Otago title in 1977 in the pairs with his uncle Bill Barron, who has long dominated South Otago bowls and heads the South Otago honours board with 41 centre titles.

He is followed by former New Zealand pairs champion Wynston McLachlan with 30 titles.

Bill's best performance at national level was to beat World Bowls champion Peter Belliss to win the Johnnie Walker singles.

Bill (94) will be honoured next month when his Balclutha club holds the ''Bill Barron 60th Open Fours'' to mark his 60 years in bowls.

Bill, who won his last club singles title three years ago, will be playing in the fours tournament with his son Kevin, grandson Corey and nephew Rodger.

Another uncle, Jeff Barron, won the New Zealand championship singles title in 1962 and finished sixth at the 1962 Commonwealth Games in Perth.

Rodger's father, George Barron, was a member of skip Bill Barron's four that finished runner-up in the national fours in 1972.

Rodger's best performance in bowls was to win the South Otago Super Bowls singles in 1991 and qualify for the national finals.

He was also a member of the South Otago inter-centre sevens team for more than a decade. Rodger became interested in bowls as a teenager when he watched his uncles at the Benhar green.

''I played rugby and cricket but often went down to the green to watch the action,'' he said.

He was 25 when he joined the Balclutha Bowling Club and was taught the draw. In 1972, a new bowler was expected to concentrate on playing accurate draw bowls. Since coming to Dunedin, Rodger has learnt more shots by playing with Paul Girdler at the Leith club and Ken Walker at Fairfield.

''The game has changed a lot from what it was when I started 40 years ago,'' Rodger said. He has a simple philosophy about bowls.

''I always try my hardest,'' he said.

''There are so many good bowlers in Dunedin. I didn't expect to win a title.''

Rodger was talented at rugby and represented South Otago in the senior reserve grade.

His son Ashley Barron was a noted rugby player and was first five-eighth for the New Zealand secondary schools team, the New Zealand Colts and Southland. He lives in Outram and has had a few roll-ups with the local club.

It was the 12th Bowls Dunedin title for Thomson in the triples and the seventh for Barringer.