Kelly set on impressing NZ selectors again

Former North Otago bowler Andrew Kelly in action in Dunedin at the weekend. PHOTO: GERARD O’BRIEN
Former North Otago bowler Andrew Kelly in action in Dunedin at the weekend. PHOTO: GERARD O’BRIEN
Andrew Kelly displayed a steady resolve and a cool nerve under pressure to progress to the quarterfinals of the North East Valley 10,000 at the weekend.

It is no surprise, really, given he is accomplished at dealing with lots of things at once.

Kelly is an experienced New Zealand bowler at a relatively young age but it is not the only string to his bow.

Outside his role in structural engineering and spending time with daughter Gemma (19 months), Kelly has been playing hockey over the winter months — replacing his Professional Bowls Association (PBA) interests — and maintains a high standard of fitness through running, kickboxing and cycling.

All this while making sure there is plenty of time on the greens to maintain his place in the Blackjacks.

He followed his parents, Bruce and Kerry, into bowls “as a young fella”.

“I’d go down after school and watch the old man play club ties and jump on the green afterwards,” Kelly said.

He also enjoyed rugby, representing North Otago at age-group level, but bowls took over while he was at Waitaki Boys’ High School, beginning a career that has taken him to competitions around the world.

“My father and I won a couple of senior titles straight off the bat in my first year.”

Kelly earned a gold star award for five centre titles at the age of just 17, and soon after skipped a four to the final of the 2006 national championships in Wellington.

He was quickly identified by national selectors and was picked to represent New Zealand at under-18 and under-25 levels.

As a 21-year-old, he won his first international title when he won the 2009 Hong Kong International Bowls Classic pairs title with 2009 national singles champion Richard Collett.

A world junior champion in 2010, Kelly skipped fours to national titles in 2012 and 2014, and at the Asia-Pacific championships in Christchurch in 2015, he won gold in both triples and pairs competition.

Kelly has also dominated PBA competition with a string of national titles leading to four trips to the United Kingdom to contest the Welsh International Open, Scottish Singles, World Singles and World Pairs titles.

In 2018, he eliminated six-time world champion Alex (Tattie) Marshall, of Scotland, in the first round of the PBA World Indoor Championships at the prestigious Potters Leisure Resort.

Kelly was reselected to the Blackjacks team for the multi-nations tournament on the Gold Coast in 2019, helping the triple win gold.

His focus now is to lock himself on the selectors’ radar to gain selection for the transtasman competition in March, followed by the Commonwealth Games in July and the rescheduled world championships in 2023.

- By Wayne Parsons

Add a Comment

Our journalists are your neighbours

We are the South's eyes and ears in crucial council meetings, at court hearings, on the sidelines of sporting events and on the frontline of breaking news.

As our region faces uncharted waters in the wake of a global pandemic, Otago Daily Times continues to bring you local stories that matter.

We employ local journalists and photographers to tell your stories, as other outlets cut local coverage in favour of stories told out of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

You can help us continue to bring you local news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter