Hungry Hodson wants more

WAYNE MARTIN
Last updated 13:00 06/11/2012
Peter Hodson
PATRICK HAMILTON/Fairfax NZ
HAPPY MAN: Stoke’s Peter Hodson marked his international debut with a bronze medal at the world champion of champions singles event in Cyprus.

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Peter Hodson admits his first taste of international bowls has left him craving more.

The Stoke club bowler and Nelson representative has just returned home with the bronze medal from the world champion of champions singles tournament in Cyprus, having exceeded his own expectations at the annual event featuring each competing nation's national champion.

"To be fair, if someone had've said to me at the start of the tournament, ‘here's a bronze medal', I probably would have taken that and gone and sat on the beach with everybody else at the resort we were playing at," he said.

"I'm extremely happy to have got the bronze, but really, the way the tournament panned out, there was an opportunity to go a step further. So, in that regard, [I'm] just a bit disappointed, but certainly not disappointed with coming away with a bronze."

Hodson had qualified for the world championships after beating Howick's Neil Fisher 21-16 in January to win the New Zealand national men's singles title.

And after finishing pool play in Cyprus with an impressive 10-2 win record, Hodson eventually came unstuck, for the second time at the tournament, against Hong Kong China's Stanley Lai.

Having already lost 10-6 5-12 0-5 to Lai in section play, Hodson then suffered a 3-12 7-7 semifinal loss to promote Lai directly into the final against Malaysia's Hizlee Abd Rais. The Malaysian beat Lai 13-6 7-5 in the decider.

"As I said to a couple of people when I got back, that was my first taste of international bowls and if that's the way it is, then I'd be keen for some more," Hodson said.

"It just goes to show, to me especially, that to be able to get to that level and then get the results that I have was quite reassuring. Being the competitive person I am . . . you obviously aspire to play at as high a level as you can and to have done that was absolutely brilliant."

Hodson said that his preparation on the United club's slow top green prior to the world event proved invaluable.

"I had been prewarned that the greens over there would be a lot different to what they are here both in speed and the nature they play, and the reports that I got were pretty much bang on. So what unfolded was pretty much what was expected.

"In hindsight I probably couldn't have got a better place to train because the abnormalities in the green overseas was almost a replica of the top green at United. It was ideal preparation really."

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Hodson described his early progress after two days, when he was sitting mid-table after two wins, two losses and a bye, as "pretty ho-hum".

"But then I got on a wee bit of a roll for three days and sort of chipped away with a few wins.

"It was quite reminiscent of what happened at the nationals when I sort of got on a bit of a roll there. I didn't get too far ahead of myself because it was a case of initially just trying to finish in that top three.

"But when I finished top of the pool, there was sort of a thought that ‘you could actually do this'."

But then he met an equally determined Lai, who had also been performing consistently throughout the tournament.

"The rink we got put on in the semifinal, my mate from Hong Kong handled it a bit better than I did. He was actually going pretty steadily too.

"He was one of the quiet achievers if you like and he just went through and was doing his own thing and not worrying about what was happening around him.

"There were a lot of guys who were affected by the way the tracks were playing and sort of blew to pieces, so as long as you kept on trucking along, so to speak, then you were fine."

Hodson said it was a well-run event, describing the whole experience as "absolutely brilliant".

"I couldn't have asked for too much more".

- © Fairfax NZ News

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