Bowls season ends on high

Mike Pattillo delivers a bowl during his champion of champions singles match against Jack Gibbs...
Mike Pattillo delivers a bowl during his champion of champions singles match against Jack Gibbs at the Kaikorai Bowling Club yesterday. Pattillo won the match 21-17. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH
Put down the hand sanitiser — there was actual live sport played in Dunedin yesterday.

Bowls, baby. And a classic battle between a boomer and a millennial it was, too.

At one end there was Tainui’s Jack Gibbs. The 75-year-old retired handyman and ex-greenkeeper loves his classic cars and he loves his bowls.

At the same end his opponent, young Mike Pattillo from the Roslyn Bowling Club. The 33-year-old moved south from Northland and only plays bowls every other week because of work commitments.

A crowd of about 40 shuffled further forward on their seats as the champion of champions men’s final at Kaikorai Bowling Club came down to the business end.

There was lot of swing out there. Must have been the humidity or perhaps those well-lathered hands had left a soapy film on the ball.

Oh, wait, maybe it was the bias. Hard to know when you have spent 15 years covering cricket.

Whatever it was it was Pattillo who had edged ahead 16-10 in the race to 21 shots.

Those boomers are tenacious, though. Gibbs rallied. He pegged back a shot on the 14th end and another two on the 15th.

Pattillo almost burgled the end with his final bowl. He caught the jack but his bowl drifted past.

The game took a dramatic turn in the 16th end. Pattillo grabbed maximum points, winning the end 4-0. He led 20-13 and the match was seemingly over. But Gibbs found his radar again and unbelievably won the end 4-0.

Gibbs was up a shot in the next end but Pattillo produced the shot of the match. He let rip with a lovely drive which collected the shot bowl and went one up. Gibbs pushed his final bowl long and the game was lost 21-17.

It was an historic moment. Pattillo became the first player from the club to win the men’s title since Ernest Tyrell in 1934. It was also the first centre title for Roslyn since its victory in the champion of champions men’s four in 1943.

It was a tremendous match but, sadly, the last for a while. Bowls Dunedin yesterday announced it was cancelling the remainder of the season.

‘‘These decisions have not been taken lightly but have been taken in line with the policies of Bowls New Zealand, Sport New Zealand and other sporting codes throughout New Zealand and are subject to review,’’ it said in a statement.

The North East Valley women’s pairs competition which was to take place next week has been postponed until October.


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