Passion burns for indoor bowls couple

Balclutha couple Alanna and Chris Moffitt are helping put South Otago on the indoor bowls map...
Balclutha couple Alanna and Chris Moffitt are helping put South Otago on the indoor bowls map with a mix of recent awards and selection for the national team. PHOTO: RICHARD DAVISON
South Otago has a new sporting power couple — in indoor bowls.

Balclutha husband and wife Chris and Alanna Moffitt met while playing the sport in 2013, and were married five years later.

Their passion for the winter-season version of the better-known lawn bowls has remained undiminished since, and both received acknowledgement of their commitment and skill at the weekend.

At the New Zealand Indoor Bowls annual meeting in Wellington on Saturday, Mr Moffitt was named volunteer of the year.

This was followed in quick succession by Mrs Moffitt’s selection for the transtasman test against Australia, in Auckland, in May next year.

Mr Moffitt said although he was pleased to receive the award, it was a reflection of the hard work of many volunteers in the South, not least his wife.

"We do it because it gives people an opportunity to get involved in sport and recreation.

"It’s affordable, accessible and inclusive, allowing people from kids to seniors to play together, and you can take it to whatever level you want.

"We say it’s easy to play, but hard to master."

In his citation, supporters said Mr Moffitt’s contribution to the sport had been "massive" and his passion and enthusiasm "unwavering".

He had been a selector, association vice-president and soon-to-be president, and was a national umpire, talented administrator, promoter and volunteer coach for the sport both for the South Otago Association, and for the New Zealand Blind and Vision Impaired Indoor Bowls Federation.

Mrs Moffitt said receiving the double honour was a proud moment for the couple.

"You always want to achieve in your chosen sport at the highest level, and do the very best you can, so for Chris to receive this award, and for me to be called up for New Zealand is very exciting."

She said she would increase training between now and May.

"New Zealand and Australia use different-size bowls, so for competition we have special international bowls which are a different size again, to level the playing field.

"So I’ve got a wee bit of practice to do to become familiar and make sure I’m on top form come May."

Mrs Moffitt said she would be playing in the mixed fours against Australia, and team up in the mixed pairs with Daniel French, of Dunedin.

New Zealand would have a winning record to maintain against their long-standing transtasman rivals.

"I think the last time New Zealand didn’t win outright was in Balclutha in 2012, when we drew," she said.

"I’ll be doing my best to fly the South Otago flag."