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A new ranking system could be the catalyst to identifying some of the country’s best performing players, with Bowls New Zealand set to capture results and data to spotlight the best of the best.

In a similar method to Bowls Australia, the New Zealand ranking system will rank every registered full playing-member in the country, encompassing information from a large variety of events held throughout the season.

In an initial testing phase, Bowls New Zealand Clubs Communications Manager Martin Mackenzie, who is responsible for overseeing the entirety of the system, has been busy working with pilot information captured from last season’s results.

By doing so, MacKenzie has been able to reveal the number one ranked bowlers, both male and female, with some intriguing results thrown up as a starting point.

Spearheaded by a win in the national singles, both Taylor Horn and Debbie White have come out on top in the first-look results, with both players also enjoying consistency in other key events to firm up their placing.

Recalled Blackjack Kirsten Edwards, Lisa Prideaux, Selina Goddard and Leigh Griffin comprised the Top 5 women, while Andrew Kelly, Shannon McIlroy, Richard Hocking and Gary Lawson join Horn to round out the Top 5 men.

“We looked at what Australia were doing and what some of our centres were doing as far as coming up with their Player of the Year. So, we thought it was time we (as Bowls NZ) started to rank our top 50-100 players, and from there it went on to why can’t everyone have some sort of ranking at every level,” MacKenzie said.

“Top bowlers can compete in the top 100, while the rest of us down in the thousands can also compete against each other within our rankings and win bragging rights. We want people to be able to go on to the website and look at where they are positioned in their club, their centre and where they sit nationally.”

MacKenzie points out the project has been pencilled in as a two to five year project, acknowledging the complexities to establish a ranking system from scratch.

Going forward, MacKenzie hopes the information collected, (once the system is well-informed and regularly updated), will help the national high performance team and selection panel understand key information and data that may be of use when looking at potential selections and/or work-on areas.

“Over the last 12 months, I’ve tracked all data available to hand from the Summer of Bowls and national events and, by using the blueprint from Australia, I’ve been able to track our own players at the moment,” MacKenzie said.

“(From there), I’m able to pass on to our high performance people where people have played, what they have played in, how they have finished up, etc,  – and that can all play a part.

“We’re looking at this as a two to five year project to really get the system to a position where everyone is happy and comfortable  . . . so it’s definitely a work in progress.”

The events included in the 2018/2019 ranking system were; National Singles, Pairs and Fours, National Intercentre, Bowls3Five, Champion of Champion Singles, Pairs and Fours, Centre Championship winners in singles, pairs, triples, fours and mixed pairs and the endorsed Summer of Bowls programme.

“It was up to the centre secretary to send through open winners and champion of champion winners straight through after the event. We had a simple form that could be filled in, scanned and sent straight back through,” MacKenzie said.

“Sometimes a lot of players are getting to semi finals and consistently performing well, but if they aren’t winning the event itself, they aren’t necessarily getting that recognition.

“Having a system like this is a great talking point among bowlers and will make for some interesting debate around the clubhouses, at the bar and on the greens, I’m sure.”

A new and improved Bowls New Zealand Rankings System will be made available next season.


-Sam Morton

Bowls New Zealand Rankings System (pilot stage)

2018/19 season


  1. Taylor Horn
  2. Andrew Kelly
  3. Shannon McIlroy
  4. =Richard Hocking & Gary Lawson
  5. Kelvin Scott
  6. Jordan King
  7. =Dean Elgar & Chris Lowe
  8. Lance Pascoe


  1. Debbie White
  2. Kirsten Edwards
  3. Lisa Prideaux
  4. Selina Goddard
  5. Leigh Griffin
  6. Linda Ralph
  7. Amy Mcllroy
  8. Catherine Bien
  9. Ling Qu
  10. =Estelle Hickey & Val Smith