“It’s about making every post a winning post” – Mike Galloway
Royal Oak bowler Mike Galloway spends thousands of hours on the green every year – literally.
Be that playing, training or working, the Auckland-based greenkeeper lives and breathes the environment on a daily basis. Tasked with looking after five greens in the Auckland region, the former New Zealand international is rarely away from the green.
Perhaps that’s why he has rediscovered his lawn bowls mojo and is looking towards creating more memories in the New Zealand shirt – some 25 years after making his debut against Fiji.
Standing lean and tall, Mike cuts a determined figure on the mat and his talents were clear for all to see as he skipped the Royal Oak Rockets in the debut season of Bowls3Five on Sky Sport.
Work and family commitments meant Galloway was unable to return to the league as a regular addition, though he clearly announced himself to selectors after taking out the coveted National Men’s Singles title at Carlton Cornwall in January.
Some twenty-years between drinks, Mike was in scintillating form as he strode to the silverware opposite Rory Soden, clearly enjoying a strong run of results and serving as a reminder that “I can still compete with the big boys of the sport’.
It was this win that inspired Mike to continue making every post a winning post, and after a solid season, he shares in the Male Player of the Year honours with Lance Pascoe.
“Pretty humbling to win that award and be recognised at this level,” Mike said.
“Obviously the singles was pretty surreal in itself, but to win this award alongside Lance, is right up there . . . it’s nice to know I can still mix it with the best.”
Encouraged by this win, Mike then returned from a 20-year hiatus to play the Intercentre for Auckland, playing a major part in his side reaching the National Intercentre Final – narrowly dropping the win to a gallant Southland side, who celebrated their first ever Intercentre success since the tournament’s inception.
Though with a strong run of form alongside Tony Grantham in the pairs, the duo only lost one game in the lead-up to the final, with Mike happy with the event overall.
“It’s been 20 years since I played Intercentre, so it was nice to come back and play for Auckland. You can’t win them all, you have to take it on the chin, go with it and look to the next game.”
Rounding out the season in fine style, Mike then went on to win the National Champion of Champion Triples with his close mates Martin Dixon and Gavin Brown – the trio proving in unstoppable form as they took top honour in Hastings.
“To win that with your mates is really special, they are both top guys and I’ve played quite a bit with them both over the years. We certainly had a few drinks that night which was great, and it’s always something great to look back to.”
Reflecting on the success Mike has had, he has now been recalled to the country’s High Performance set-up, where he joins a host of the nation’s best vying for a place in the Trans-Tasman and further still, the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham next year.
Spurred on by his recent results, Mike is starting to chase dreams – something he hasn’t really considered until recent years. Much like the rest of his fellow squad members, he has been putting in the hours on the croquet green – with the green helping to imitate the slower and less reactive conditions the Blackjacks will face in the UK.
Looking ahead, Mike, who has previously represented New Zealand against Fiji in the late 90s, is aiming for more of the same – with a rekindled interest for achieving higher honours driving his success.
“I’ve said in the past I’m a part-time bowler, but winning the singles has changed my outlook on where I can go with bowls. It’s like any sport, you know when you are playing well, everything just clicks and then you do what you can to carry that on.
“The Comm Games is the Everest of bowls, so if I can play for my country again, that’s the top goal. (But), it’s great to be part of the scene again and it’s nice to know I can still compete with those that have been around for a while performing at the highest of levels.”
Bring on next season Mike, we’re sure you will continue to impress.
*Mike Galloway was the joint recipient of the 2020-21 Summerset Male Player of the Year.