Featured, High Performance, News, Our People

Print Friendly, PDF & Email



You only have to look at Wellington’s Intercentre side last season to know there is some promising rising stars within the sport – particularly centred in the capital.

Perhaps one of the more consistent names featuring at the business end of tournaments is Finbar McGuigan, the Stokes Valley protege and a product of investment in youth bowls.

While Finbar has been putting on strong showings around the country for a while now, including representing New Zealand at development level, it’s only in recent years his name has become synonymous with some of the best bowlers throughout the nation.

A win in the Bowls3FIVE televised league with the Stokes Valley Vipers, a beaten semi-finalist in the National Men’s Singles, a quarter-finalist in the National Fours and in previous efforts, a win at the U26 Burnside Singles in Christchurch – all notable results that have seen his stocks rise and a clear reflection of why he has been named this year’s Summerset Male Emerging Bowler of the Year.

It’s these results and other consistent performances such as winning the inaugural New Zealand UBC qualifier, that have seen his recent introduction to the New Zealand High Performance Squad

– joining fellow club members Seamus Curtin and Lance Pascoe.

“It’s always nice to win stuff, but converting those semi-finals and quarter finals, getting consistently to the end of tournaments and challenging . . . that’s what it’s all about,” McGuigan said.

“At Stokes Valley, we’ve got a great club culture with some great young players, but also a good mix of more experienced club members. Everyone learns off each other, helps spur each other on, and we also have a lot of laughs along the way.”

A groundsman for Hutt City Council, Finbar is kept busy through the season, and despite the support his employers have given him to chase the Blackjacks dream, Finbar knows getting the balance right between work, bowls and life is the key to success.

“In winter, it’s not too busy, but then again, there’s not too many bowls on – (but) they are very good with me taking leave if I give them the right notice. It’s about pin-pointing key events and giving it my all at those.

“Bowls can be quite demanding on time away and travel, but they’re (employers) very supportive of that, which is great.”

Looking ahead to the coming season, Finbar is again tipping Stokes Valley to have another strong season – a season he hopes to personally contribute to as he works hard to put his best foot forward in the hunt for higher honours.

He remains philosophical about his chances for Kiwi inclusion at next year’s Commonwealth Games in the UK, and says he will continue to put the hard yards in to stake his claim.

“Birmingham – if it happens, it happens – but it’s a decision for the selectors. From the squad perspective, it’s definitely about putting the time in and the hard yards . . . that’s all I can do, I’m definitely not too worried about who may or may not get picked ahead of me, I can only control my game and what I do, so that’s the focus,” he said.

“If I don’t make it on this occasion, the hard work and effort put in will certainly pay off in other areas of the game and results. We’ve got a great squad and we will all be doing our best, but there’s still quite a bit of time yet.”

And it’s events like the rescheduled North vs South clash in November, an attempt to defend the Bowls3FIVE silverware in New Lynn, the prestigious North East Valley 10,000 Singles, the National Singles and Pairs in Christchurch and the Nelson Fours – all events that will carry high profile in the coming months, among others.

*Finbar McGuigan is the 2020-21 Summerset Male Emerging Bowler of the Year.