Gary Lawson playing as favour for a mate

CHRIS HYDE
Last updated 05:00 21/09/2012
Gary Lawson
PATRICK HAMILTON/Fairfax NZ
POLARISING CHARACTER: Lawn bowler Gary Lawson.

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Bowling enigma and self-confessed "fat bubble" Gary Lawson will grace Wellington's greens this weekend for his only tournament in New Zealand this year.

The sharp-tongued Lawson will attempt to defend his Victoria Invitation Pairs title with Lance Pascoe, despite not even thinking about bowls for the last six months.

He has put on weight having had no practice and no game play since March.

Tomorrow morning Lawson will fly from Christchurch to Wellington and go straight from the airport to the bowling green.

Lawson's new indifference towards the game he used to dominate is part-and-parcel of his ongoing disagreements with Bowls New Zealand.

All his barbs are reserved for chief executive Kerry Clark who he accused earlier this year of influencing selectors not to pick him in the national team.

Lawson will not consider playing seriously again until Clark resigns.

"The way the game is at the moment in New Zealand I wouldn't bother playing. It's a shambles.

"I've made a commitment that until Clark disappears I won't play. I'm just doing this as a one-off favour to [tournament organiser] Lou Newman because he's a good mate."

Lawson, 46, now co-owns the Lockwood Homes franchise in Christchurch which has contributed to his lack of desire to return.

"Look, honestly I've had six or seven months off playing and I haven't thought about it one day.

"I've achieved everything I've ever wanted to and don't have any regrets," Lawson said.

Those achievements include a record-equalling 10 national titles and three world titles.

But Lawson's career has long lost its glossy sheen, after he was scandalously found guilty of match-fixing two years ago.

His well-documented competitive fire is now merely a flicker in the leadup to this weekend's tournament.

"The result's irrelevant to me, but you know once you stand on the green you want to win.

"We've got a starters chance, we won it last year, after all.

"If we can get through Saturday we'll be tough to beat Sunday."

To win, Lawson will need to outlast fellow three-time world champion Peter Belliss who is back in New Zealand after 16 years in Sydney.

Lawson is looking at Australia himself. He will play an invitational tournament in Mackay at Labour Weekend and said tomorrow's would be his last tournament in New Zealand in the foreseeable future.

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- The Dominion Post

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