Community policeman Mike Gorrie was hesitant when he got the call from his wife to play in the Russell Double tournament.
After a couple of players had pulled out from a local combination, Kaye Gorrie was helping to put together a last minute scratch team for the popular event, which incorporates the Kaimarama Memorial and Patron’s tournaments.
Gorrie is the officer in charge at the Russell police station, which is, as he puts it, a “one man station”.
“My work commitments mean it can be difficult to play,” says Gorrie. “I don’t play regularly but I enjoy it when I do. But I understood from my wife it was a one-day tournament; I think she knew I wouldn’t agree if I knew it was the whole weekend. But it was funny how it all worked out.”
The team of Ricky Howe, Kaye Gorrie, Maryanne Hooson and Mike Gorrie got together on Saturday morning with few expectations.
The tournament, which was revived three years ago after being a fixture on the summer calendar between 1983-2005, attracted a strong field. There were teams from across Northland, as well as combinations from Papakura, Riverhead, Te Kuiti (two), Morrinsville and Mangawhai.
“We certainly weren’t putting any pressure on ourselves,” says Gorrie. “We looked around and there were much better teams than us. We were determined just to take it one game at a time; we wanted to have fun and there was no reason for any stress.”
However their aspirations began to change after lunch, following two wins in the morning.
“We were talking during the third game, saying ‘this is getting a bit strange’.”, explains Gorrie. “And then during the fourth game there was a feeling of ‘Oh my god..we can do this.’
Howe’s team ended Saturday with a perfect 100 per cent record, good enough to take out the Kaimarama Memorial.
It was a special moment, and also around the time that Gorrie realised he would be lining up the next day.
“I had taken it as a one-day event and my wife didn’t say anything to dissuade that view,” laughs Gorrie. “But we were excited about the next day, though maybe there was a bit more pressure.”
The foursome, who had never played together before, continued their strong form on the second day.
“We had nothing to lose,” says Gorrie. “We tried to play exactly the same, nothing outstanding just consistent.”
The recipe worked, and Howe’s team were in the box seat after recording wins in the fifth and sixth matches.
“About then it was staring to become a little bit stressful,” admits Gorrie. “We had snuck under the radar but obviously then we were the team to beat. There was a bit more pressure.”
But they didn’t flinch, and ended the weekend unbeaten, including a win over defending champions Hikurangi, to clinch the Russell Double.
“We were consistent,” says Gorrie. “Ricky was great as skip and we all did our part. We kept chugging along and managed to put points on the good teams.”
To add to a special weekend, Gorrie and his team, along with the rest of the field, enjoyed the sumptuous food that is a trademark of Russell Bowling club events.
“There was fresh fish, crayfish, oysters, smoked fish…it was amazing,” says Gorrie. “It’s something our club is renowned for. And it was a lot of fun; there were a lot of good people and they were all great sports.”
Gorrie also loved the networking opportunity.
“You get to meet so many people from all over the country,” says Gorrie. “It’s a pretty special part of the sport.”
Gorrie took up bowls seven years ago, along with his wife. He doesn’t play championship bowls but enjoys the odd tournament, “where possible”.
He’s also enjoyed the revival of the Russell club, which began just under a decade ago.
“There were a group of local people, all connected, who got involved in the club,” says Gorrie. “They were all relatively young and it just grew from there.”
Tournament organiser Pania Sigley was thrilled with the weekend.
“We had 17 teams, the weather was great and everything went to plan,” says Sigley. “We had a nice get together on Saturday night that everyone enjoyed as well. Our volunteers were great, and we had some wonderful support from the local township as always, especially in terms of sponsorship.”