Defending champion Rowan Brassey played his first round matches yesterday.
Defending champion Rowan Brassey played his first round matches yesterday.

Brassey an honorary Aussie

By BRAD GREENSHIELDS

NEW Zealand's finest lawn bowls export Rowan Brassey is held in such high regard by his Australian counterparts, that he's the closest to an honorary Aussie that the sport has.

That title still stands even a few days after the All Blacks have given the Wallabies another Bledisloe Cup touch-up.

Brassey is in Coffs Harbour to defend the Park Beach Ford Fiesta Open Singles title that he won last year.

He admits though that even if he wasn't the defending champion, he'd still be entered in the tournament.

"It's always fun to come to the Coast because the weather's brilliant and the greens are superb," the 50 year-old said.

"The first time I came to Coffs Harbour would've been about 20 years ago to play in the Classic Singles they've had here, it might've even been 25 years ago.

"It's always nice to come back and it's not often you get to play for a car and that's a great prize that is."

Brassey has become so used to the local lifestyle in July that he even remembered to request that he not be drawn to play his sectional matches today so he could instead travel to Grafton to attend the Ramornie Handicap race day.

Playing in Australian competitions so often gives Brassey a perfect opportunity to observe the progress that bowls is making in this country with an unbiased view.

It may be through gritted teeth that he says it, but he's impressed with how we're going about it at the moment.

"Australia are getting stronger and stronger in bowls, you can just tell by the Commonwealth Games," he said.

"They've got all these events on TV, which is great for bowls but if you go to any other country in the world like New Zealand, they don't have these tournaments.

"They have the big ones over in the UK but that's about all they have, so I think the Aussies are probably leading the format around the world really."

The regular member of the New Zealand team said he'd like to see the authorities across the Tasman adopt some of Australia's ways but he's not holding his breath.

"I've been talking to them for years and it's a blind eye of course, they don't want to know about it," he added.

"A lot of administrators around the world they look after themselves and make sure that their pockets are full and not the bowlers."



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