Low to lead four, triple in national bowls team

Southland's Gary Low has been named in the New Zealand indoor bowls team for the first time. He will lead in the men's four and triple.

The New Zealand indoor bowls team for the trans-Tasman international in Morayfield, Queensland, from May 16 to 18, is a reshuffled team with three new caps and one player recalled.

Ten of the players who drew with Australia at Balclutha last year have been re-selected. However, Australia retained the Henselite Trophy on this occasion as they were the previous holders of the trophy after winning in Broken Hill in 2009.

Adding to the changes is the unavailability of Lisa White, Upper Hutt Valley, and Sandra Keith, Ashburton, who are fully committed to lawn bowls at present.

The three new caps are Lois Randall, Hutt Valley, Sheree Holmes, Upper Hutt Valley, and Low, Southland. Linda McCurdy, Waikato, is recalled after being named as a reserve last time. She previously played for her country in 2001, 2003 and 2009 and was a reserve in 2011.

Randall will skip the women's four and triple taking over from Keith. Holmes makes her first appearance as the two in the women's four and as lead in the mixed eight-bowl pairs while Low will lead in the men's four and triple.

McCurdy will play three in the women's four and in the middle of the women's triple.

Those to retain their places include North Taranaki's Grant l'Ami who will play for his country for the fifth time. He previously played in 1999, 2001, 2003 and 2011 and will this time captain the team and play as the skip of the men's fours and men's pairs.

Canterbury's Blair Spicer who makes his sixth appearance with previous caps from 1997, 1999, 2001, 2007 and 2011 and North Taranaki's John Zittersteijn, who makes his third appearance and played in 2005 and 2011, are all vastly experienced players. Spicer will play three in the mixed fours and skip the mixed eight-bowl pairs. Zittersteijn will play three for l'Ami in the men's four and skip the men's triple.

The husband and wife Canterbury duo of Simon and Julie Thomas will both make their sixth appearances. They both previously played in 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2011. Julie Thomas has been named as the assistant captain, a new position in the team.

This time they will again play in the mixed fours with Simon as the skip and Julie as the two. However they will not combine in the six-bowl mixed pairs with Julie moving to the important position of lead in the women's pair to combine with Fiona Wilson, Tauranga. Simon will skip the six-bowl mixed pairs but with Maureen Pruden, Waikato, as his lead. Grant Rayner, North Wellington, makes his third appearance after playing in 2009 and 2011. He will play two in the men's four and in the middle of the men's triple.

Ashley Diamond, Canterbury, makes his second appearance and will this time play the crucial men's singles and again lead for l'Ami in the men's pairs. He has been the outstanding player of the 2012 season.

Fiona Wilson makes her second appearance and this time will play the women's singles and will again skip the women's pairs. Gina Owen, Bay of Plenty, makes her second appearance as the lead in the women's four and triple.

The reserves are Julie Dalley and Owen Ditfort, Canterbury, Jenny Stockford, Auckland, Elizabeth Morrow and Grant Harvey, North Taranaki, and Mike Phipps, Tauranga.

The Southland Times