The controversial but charismatic Gary Lawson is lending his considerable experience to Bowls3Five before resetting his sights on an international recall.
The record-setting 13-time national champion will join Jenny Woods and Miles Davis in the commentary box for the inaugural league, which will be broadcast live on SKY Sport on Tuesday and Wednesday nights for the next six weeks.
“I’m really happy to be commentating and with Jenny and Miles it will be quite colourful,” Lawson said.
“My job is to try and educate the people watching…and hopefully add a little bit of expertise.”
The double world champion has already provided a helping hand to former All Black Alex ‘Grizz’ Wyllie, who will be playing for the Woodend Jets.
“I’ve been doing a bit of training with him and he’s doing alright and I think people will really enjoy watching him play,” Lawson said.
“He’s a fantastic bloke and not the big gruff, tough guy that everyone thinks he is.
“He’s a gentle giant, a teddy bear.”
Gary Lawson promptly retired after being overlooked for this year’s Commonwealth Games, but returned to the greens last month to help Eastbourne win the prestigious Australian club 5-a-side on the Gold Coast.
“I had a couple of yarns and spoke to [Bowls New Zealand CEO] Mark Cameron and I decided it’d be silly [to retire],” Lawson said.
“I’ve been playing pretty good, probably the best I’ve played since we won the world champs in 2008.”
Lawson frequently clashed with the previous Bowls NZ administration and he has not represented the Blackjacks since 2009, when the men’s four, which he skipped, deliberately lost an end during the Asia-Pacific tournament.
But he is playing in the North East Valley invitation singles in Dunedin this week and has committed to lining up in the nationals, with the aim of representing New Zealand again.
“I’d love to. That’s one of the reasons I’ve come back to play,” he said.
“I still think there’s unfinished business there for me.
“I wouldn’t make myself available if I didn’t think I was good enough for the team or able to add some value to it.
“And I’d really like to be part of helping some of the young guys…get to the next level.”
Current Blackjack Shannon McIlroy believes Lawson deserves a recall and feels he would make their team stronger.
“The guy has won more New Zealand titles than anyone and he keeps winning New Zealand titles so on a performance basis he definitely should be in the top five,” McIlroy said.
What is Bowls3Five?
Bowls3Five is a new fast format of the game which aims to provide a competition where everyone interested can get involved. Depending on the competition you play in, you can face a set number of ends, a shot clock, double points, and a tiebreaker end. Bowls3Five aims to fit into busy lifestyles of those finding themselves short on time but still wish to compete in sport and those who are stepping up to accept the challenge of the shorter format.
Bowls3Five offers three levels of competition – a social format for twilight competitions, a nationwide interclub competition and the inaugural Bowls3Five televised six-team league. It will be broadcast live on SKY Sport on Tuesday and Wednesday nights for six weeks From October 23 to November 28, 2018 at the New Lynn Bowling Club in Auckland. Specifically for television, the games will be played in one direction with two sets of five ends. If each team has won a set or both sets are drawn there will be a tie-break end to decide the winner of the game. The televised league starts with a double round-robin draw, all teams playing each other twice over the first five weeks. The six teams will then be ranked heading into the finals which are played in week six
For more information: visit http://www.bowls3five.co.nz or contact Bowls3Five media manager Brenton Vannisselroy on 021 039 0471