Overcoming the odds to win
Ray Boffa's 26th Kapiti Coast centre bowls title will be one to remember, but not for the right reasons.
The 54-year-old lost his mother, his car, his bowling gear and his pairs partner in the lead up to the weekend's pairs tournament in Levin.
Boffa's mother, who he cared for in her home, died in October. ''I was very close with my mother. For about four years she was my priority,'' he said.
He will now have to find a new home and a new job.
To make matters worse, his car was stolen from outside the Waikanae Hotel on Friday, November 9, with all his bowls gear inside.
After a rare bowls practise that day, he stopped to make a bet at the pub, and came out 30 minutes later to find an empty space where his car should have been.
''I was shocked. I walked back into the pub a bit dazed, and said my car had been taken. No-one could quite believe it.''
Then on the day before the tournament, Boffa's pairs partner Alan Bradbury had to pull out through illness.
''I just said, Al, I don't need any more bad luck, there's nothing you can do about it, but I'm pulling the plug. I'm ringing to default.
''I get a call from him 10 minutes later, and he said try this bloke Robin Minnoch. Robin's never won a centre title in his life. Because he's such a good guy, I thought I'd give it a shot.''
Turning up on Saturday to the Levin Central club for the tournament, Boffa used old practise bowls for the first day, while sporting some unpopular black shoes.
''You had a few words, people saying 'look at what Ray is wearing'. It's a big no no to wear black shoes.''
After Boffa struggled with his out of date bowls on Saturday, new Paraparaumu Beach club member Scott Sinclair-Paton leant hom his size 5 bowls, after been knocked out of the tournament.
With the modern bowls, Boffa was able to find a rhythm as skip, while Minnoch was nearly faultless as the lead.
''Scott's an up and coming player in our region, and it was nice of him to lend me his bowls.
''And Robin, he completely out-performed what I was expecting of him. He kept it simple, and didn't make any mistakes. I never had to come in and make up for his errors, which was great.''
In the semi-final Boffa and Minnoch beat Rex Holmes and Mark Clements 22-10, before winning the final 18-14 against Levin's Ian Mahoney and Noel McCutcheon.
Boffa has since ordered new bowls from Australia, for the best part of $1000, and is searching for a new job.
He was buying a new car on Tuesday, and had heard no more about his old car, a dark green Mazda 323 stationwagon, registration TP 6472.