Girvan wants another title

Richard Girvan
Richard Girvan
Richard Girvan is testament to the fact that you can take the boy out of bowls but not the bowls out of the boy.

Girvan, who celebrates his 44th birthday today, is the assistant coach of the Blackjacks and, although he admits to retiring from the game after the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014, he would like nothing better than to win another national title.

He got off to the best possible start in the qualifying rounds of the men’s singles yesterday at the North East Valley greens, winning his first three challenges and displaying dominant form in his 21-2, 21-5 and  21-10 wins.

Girvan began what was to be a prestigious and honour-filled bowls career as a 13-year-old at the Okahu Bay Bowling Club in Auckland, but did not make his international debut for New Zealand until 2005. He remained a member of the Blackjacks for the next 10 years, playing 234 games, including three Commonwealth Games and two World Bowls. He won the fours title at World Bowls in 2008 with Gary Lawson, Russell Meyer and Andrew Todd.

Now aligned with the Royal Oak Bowls Club in Auckland, Girvan has maintained his contact with the sport in this country, despite playing most of his competition bowls in Australia for the Nelson Bay Bowling Club in the Newcastle area of New South Wales, where he is employed as the bowls development manager.

Despite retiring from international competition three years ago, Girvan made no secret yesterday of his intentions to  win another national title during men’s singles qualifying play at the North East Valley Club.

"I’m here to win a national title," he said.

"Even though you retire from international competition, you’re still competitive. It’s a national title, after all."

His progression through his three qualifying rounds yesterday was not made easy due to a strong northeasterly blowing across the greens.

"Look, it’s pretty tricky out there, to be fair," he said of the conditions.

"The breeze was creating a bit of havoc as it cut across the top of the building there. So it’s nice to get some wins under the belt"

For Girvan, the championships are a marathon, not a sprint, and he knows full well that he cannot take any  player lightly.

"The field is very strong this year. There’s some real quality players in the field.

"Anybody can win down here. Don’t be surprised if a few unknowns aren’t featuring when it comes down to the nitty-gritty."

Although national singles and pairs titles have proved elusive, Girvan has three fours titles to his credit, the first in Auckland in 2005 with Danny O’Connor, Wayne Turley and Steve Beel. But it was not until 2015 that he was able to lift the trophy for a second time  and he comes into this year’s fours championships as defending champion.

After the championships, Girvan will shift his focus to his assistant coaching role to the Blackjacks with the focus on April’s Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.

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