Blair Barringer trains at the Fairfield Bowling Club. Photo
by Peter McIntosh.
Blair Barringer is the comeback kid who has been the
dominant player in Dunedin bowls this season.
Barringer (33) had left his bowls in the cupboard for the
past two years to look after his family and concentrate on
He has returned in style and made the final of three of the
four Bowls Dunedin open championship events. He skipped the
winning Fairfield team in the triples and the fours and was
runner-up to former international Terry Scott (North East
Valley) in the singles.
This equals the record former international Stewart McConnell
set 30 years ago.
Barringer's best performance at national level in his first
stint at the game was to win the New Zealand under-25 singles
title in 2004 when he beat World Bowls players Shannon
McIlroy and Ali Forsyth.
He was a member of New Zealand training squads for five years
but pulled out when he took a two-year break from the game.
''It was because of work and family commitments,'' he said.
''I needed to give time to my family at that time.''
Barringer, an Otago Regional Council field adviser, is
married to Tracey and has two young children - Kaylee (3) and
''I couldn't find the time to get on the green and play bowls
at the weekends,'' he said.
Barringer returned to the sport this season and has adopted a
more mature approach to the game.
''I'm a bit more composed now and am mentally tougher,''
''I used to get rattled a bit.
''When I was out of the game I had time to reflect on what I
was good at in bowls and what I needed to work on.''
His skill level and technique has always been of a high
''I just concentrated on staying composed mentally. That's
all I've been working on.
''I'm a lot more patient now. I don't push the heads. I don't
rush and try to play the big shots as I did in the past. I'm
''The big difference now is that I value second shot a lot
more. I used to want to move jacks all the time.
''I'm a little bit smarter in the way I play. I see the
bigger picture and try to win the game.''
He does not want to rush back into the big time in events
outside Dunedin and pulled out of the Bowls Dunedin team for
last weekend's quadrangular competition.
''With all the weekends I've played recently I thought it
would be best to have a weekend with the family.''
But he still has unfinished business in the sport.
''My goal is to win a national open title,'' he said.
''I'm focusing on the championships in Dunedin next season.
It's something I'd like to pull off.''
He still eyes the Black Jacks but is not pushing that goal at
Barringer has found bowls easier since his return to the
He bases his game more around draw bowls than he did in the
''I still drive and play run shots but I like to be
patient,'' Barringer said.
''I don't try and fire things up and win by heaps.''
He followed his father, Lindsay Barringer, into bowls in
''Dad was playing at the North East Valley club and he roped
me in to play in a two bowler, two non-bowler tournament,''
''That's how I got started.
''We won that tournament and I thought that bowls was easy.
That got me going. Dad has been my biggest fan. He pushed me
to come back and get into it.''
He was supported in his comeback by Bowls Dunedin president
Robbie Thomson and Fairfield club stalwart John Crofts.