A former All Black will bring a competitive edge to the Canterbury representatives in Bowls3Five.
Alex ‘Grizz’ Wyllie headlines the Woodend Jets’ team for the inaugural league, which will be broadcast live on SKY Sport on Tuesday and Wednesday nights for six weeks, starting later this month.
Wyllie is in his sixth season playing club bowls following a decorated playing and coaching career in rugby union.
He is hopeful he can bring his winning mentality to the Jets.
“Well I’d like to think so but the bloody bowls don’t always go where they’re meant to,” Wyllie said.
Alex Wyllie is the Woodend Bowling Club’s designated “grumpy old man” and is expected to be antagonised on the Bowls3Five green by team-mate Na Katae, who still holds a grudge that Wyllie didn’t pick him for Canterbury and the All Blacks.
Wyllie says the focus is on enjoying themselves, while being competitive.
“We haven’t got any outsiders in to boost us,” he said.
“We don’t have any notable players, but we hope we can perform and not make fools out of ourselves.”
The Woodend Jets are the oldest team in Bowls3Five and boast the oldest player; club president Rae Miller, 78, who has skipped the club’s winning women’s four for the past three seasons.
“Somebody else chose me. It wasn’t my idea,” Miller said.
“I’m hoping she [Jenny Anderson] will be fine and I won’t have to play.”
Anderson is Wyllie’s partner and Woodend Bowling Club’s reigning women’s singles and pairs champion, despite entering just her third season in the sport.
“She’s very competitive,” Rae Miller said.
“She was very competitive in tennis in North Canterbury and she’s carried that on in her bowls.”
Neil Tiplady and the club’s bar manager Daryl Neate round out the Jets’ team and Miller says they have a great rapport.
“They have a lot of fun and have each other on a lot on the green, so I hope they do that on TV.”
And the name, the Woodend Jets?
“We did have another name, but they thought that wasn’t punchy enough,” Miller said.
“They came up with the Jets because we’ll be jetting to Auckland all the time.”
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