National selection proves birthday treat

20:17, Aug 19 2013

Six years ago when Tracey Conner went to watch a friend compete in ten pin bowling little did she know that moment would be the birth of a new found passion as well as leading to plenty of success.

After seeing her friend in action, Conner was prompted to take up the sport traditionally played for leisure, rather than competitively.

In what has been a rapid rise, Conner has quickly impressed in the ten pin bowling ranks and in October will represent New Zealand at the 2013 Walter Rachuig Trophy tournament which will also double as the Australian Nationals.

Conner will become the first Southlander to compete in the tournament and just the second Southland female to wear the silver fern in ten pin bowling. The last woman to do so was Sarah Paisley (nee Tayles), who represented New Zealand in Asian tournaments in 2000 and 2004.

Conner will be part of the 12-strong New Zealand team of six women and six men to attend the tournament in Townsville.

She is one of two from the South Island in the team and what will make the trip that little bit more special is Conner will celebrate her 36th birthday in the middle of competition. "It will be a good birthday present."


Her spot in the national setup has her buzzing and also pinching herself as to how far she has come in such a short time.

"I've kind of taken to it pretty quickly," Conner, who has a game high score of 258, said. "I have always dreamed of representing my country and now I am. I will wear the silver fern with pride."

As in most minority sports, her national selection comes at a cost, with Conner having to raise $5000 to get to training camps and the tournament in October.

Despite that commitment she wasn't about to let the chance slip when Ten Pin Bowling New Zealand asked if she was interested in attending the tournament.

The chance to represent New Zealand adds to Connor's list of achievements this year. In April she became what is believed to be the first female judge at a New Zealand thoroughbred race meeting.

The Southland Times