CONSISTENCY AND PERSISTENCE PAYS OFF FOR PASCOE
For Lance Pascoe, the season that was will be remembered as a breakout chapter.
After years of flirting with the top line silverware, Lance teamed up with former New Zealand representative Jamie Hill to claim his first national open title – a feat that had previously eluded him across several attempts.
But it was the sheer persistence and consistency that changed that image, with Pascoe and Hill proving too strong for their opposition, coasting their way to the men’s pairs final and brushing aside the vastly experienced local duo of Mike Bradshaw and John Carruthers to claim gold.
Building on that momentum, Lance went on to join Mike Kernaghan, Shannon McIlroy and Kelvin Scott in a star-studded four in Central Otago – only to be pipped at the final hurdle on the final end.
Though, despite the loss, Lance’s consistency was starting to shine through and it’s that level of effort that saw him named in the New Zealand High Performance Squad earlier this year.
“It was great to finally get over the line . . . (and) almost a relief to have cracked that goal. “Jamie is such a pleasure to play with, bit like myself, pretty laid back and we get on really well.
We just gelled, never sort of panicked and if the other wasn’t there, the other was, so it worked nicely.”
Throughout the season, Lance has also enjoyed further success and consistency – with his results reflecting his joint award with Mike Galloway as the Summerset Male Bowler of the Year.
Other results include runner-up in the Bowls3Five, runner-up in the national men’s fours, quarterfinalist in the National Intercentre with Canterbury, a win in the National Interclub 7s and selection
in the upcoming North vs South fixture, representing the South.
“I always try and do my bit for the team, but I’ve been playing with some really good players at the moment, so that always helps get results. When you have the likes of Shannon, Kelvin and Kerny around you, it’s unusual for all four of us to have a bad end, so we are always tough to beat.
“We also get on really well and have a lot of fun both on and off the green too, so that all plays into it. We are going again as a four this season, so hopefully we don’t make it three bridesmaids in a row,” he laughed.
A mainstay of the Canterbury representative team for many years, Lance has been involved in some major fixtures and highlights for the centre – though it was the win with the Elmwood Club in the National Interclub 7s that stood out as a season highlight.
“It was great to take that out, it’s something I haven’t won before. I played for the West Coast for a good number of years before moving to Christchurch, and while we went close on the odd occasion, we never really had the depth to achieve that feat. So it was great to get over to Christchurch, up the level of competition and improve my game,” he recalled.
“We’ve certainly got a pretty solid side at Elmwood, in fact it’s probably a team that could compete with the Intercentre side . . . but in saying that you still have to get the job done and play well to win the local and national competitions and we’ve been able to string those performances together.”
Speaking of representative duties, Lance, who now lives and works in Wellington, has pledged his ongoing commitment to both the Elmwood Club and Canterbury – with his decision to play for Elmwood likely to cost him any opportunity of being selected for Wellington.
Though with a young family in tow and his partner Mandy, a former New Zealand representative in her own right, lining up for the Stokes Valley interclub ladies this coming season – both Lance and Mandy are realistic about over committing to the sport.
“The men and women’s interclub are played at the same time here, so Mandy will be tied up for seven or eight weeks playing. Elmwood’s interclub commitments will be held over one weekend, so (to be honest) it works in well.
“I’ll be playing club and centre bowls for Stokes Valley in Wellington, but I’ll talk to the Canterbury selectors and see what they want and expect from me, and if I can carry on playing for them, I will.” In saying that, Lance passes full credit to their wider support crew, who have already given their backing to both Lance and Mandy chasing international glory for the Blackjacks.
But for now, Mandy appears content playing local and national bowls – albeit Lance not ruling out the chances to see her back in black in future years.
“We’ve got heaps of family support, both of our mothers are retired and the kids love them to bits – so it’s nothing to do with what we can and can’t do from a time perspective. She (Mandy) just isn’t quite in that space at the moment . . . and probably not excited enough to put the shirt back on - but she’s only young . . . she’ll end up coming back eventually.
“One day, it would be great to go away together and represent New Zealand, but we’ll have to see if that ever happens . . . that’s out of our control.”
In the meantime, Lance himself is eyeing up higher honours. Though with the likes of Gary Lawson, McIlroy, Ali Forsyth, Andrew Kelly and the return of Mike Galloway and Tony Grantham, along with a host of talented youngsters rising through the ranks and among the mix, Lance is realistic with his hopes, but says he will be doing everything he can to put himself in the frame come February’s selection for the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
“I’m out there as often as I can putting the time in on the croquet greens, and I’m starting to feel good with the timing and difference of surface. At this point in the journey, it’s about playing well, winning as much as possible, but understanding that winning itself isn’t everything.
“It’s more about being consistent and giving yourself the best chance . . . from a playing perspective, that’s all you can do and that’s certainly the goal for me.”
Congratulations on an outstanding season Lance.
*Lance Pascoe is the joint recipient of the 2020-21 Summerset Male Player of the Year.