SOUTHLAND indoor bowlers Gary Low and Suzanne Mackie may be old hands at representing their country, but they still rate competing in the 23rd Indoor Bowls Trans-Tasman International Test Match in Invercargill next month as a major achievement.
The test match will be Low’s fifth time representing New Zealand in the sport, and Mackie’s third time.
“I can’t think of anything better than representing your country. It’s the ultimate accomplishment,” Low said.
Mackie said she was excited to be representing her country in front of family and friends. “It has got to be special with a home crowd to witness the event.”
Low and Mackie are the only Southlanders in the 14-strong New Zealand team.
Hosted by the Southland Indoor Bowls Centre, the biennial Trans-Tasman three-day test match between Australia and New Zealand is expected to attract 200-300 supporters and spectators from across the Tasman and as far north as Auckland.
Teams compete in singles, pairs, mixed pairs, triples, fours and mixed fours.
Low is competing in the men’s singles and mixed pairs and Mackie is competing in the ladies fours and triples events.
Despite having several men’s singles titles to his name, Low said there would be extra pressure this time playing in singles events.
“I would much rather someone else had it.
“I prefer the team game.”
Low is the reigning New Zealand open singles indoor bowls champion, the Club’s New Zealand men’s single champion (for the third year in a row), and the Southland singles champion.
The pair said they expected to face “tough competition” in the clash.
Low said there were several new players and a new team captain among the Australian team, with unknown strengths.
Mackie said the challenge for both teams would be playing on an unfamiliar mat.
The Australians played on a longer mat, so a compromise mat about 0.5 longer than the New Zealand team was used to playing on would be used for the test match, she said. It was also a thicker, heavier mat which slowed the speed of the bowls.
Tournament convener Graham Low said hosting the test match in Invercargill would be great for the sport locally.
“It’s not every day you get to see the New Zealand team perform.
“It is nice to be able to bring that talent south.”23rd Indoor Bowls Trans-Tasman International Test Match, Southland Indoor Bowls Centre, Onslow St, Invercargill, May 16-18. Free entry.