Ex NZ fast bowler Bulfin plies a different trade

JONATHAN MILLMOW
Last updated 05:00 14/06/2014
Carl Bulfin
DEREK FLYNN/Fairfax NZ
ON THE JOB: Carl Bulfin takes a break between strokes at Lake Rotoiti yesterday.

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Carl Bulfin talks to The Dominion Post about his change of pace from fiery fast bowler to patient painter. 

Carl Bulfin has been wallpapering all day.

Some days he paints, other days he hangs paper. He enjoys his work, takes pride in it.

He often has a radio nearby, keeping up with cricket gossip on Radio Sport.

Bulfin has been working with his father Neville for near on 18 years. They call themselves Bulfin Coatings, working 7am to 5pm in the Marlborough region.

Carl's knees bother him when he bends low to paint skirting or iron out a crease in the wallpaper, the legacy of bowling quick in a previous life.

When injury cut short his cricket career, he turned to painting and decorating.

"It is good turning up at a house that looks like crap and turning it into a silk purse, as such," Bulfin said. "You get a bit of satisfaction out of that side of it.

"I'm pretty particular so that suits the job. My standards are quite high. I'll always fix something if I don't like it."

Bulfin has some work coming up at home. He and his beautician wife Sonja have just bought "a new old home" and there are plans to add on a room for her to work out of.

They have three children - Liam, 14, Alex, 11 and Evie, 8, who enjoy their sport. "The boys find cricket too slow but so did I growing up. I didn't take it seriously till I was about 17."

B ULFIN was a popular cricketer. He had dreadlocks and bowled quick. He was particularly successful in Martin Crowe's Super Max Cricket competition.

He is 40 and was still playing for Celtic and occasionally at Hawke Cup level for Marlborough up until two seasons ago.

"I only came off four or five paces but basically was as quick as most of them. I took my wickets at about 18 or 20 a pop [his average] and really enjoyed the camaraderie."

Bulfin played for Central Districts, Wellington and four one-day internationals for New Zealand in 1999. The first three were at home against South Africa and there was also a sole appearance at the World Cup, against Scotland at Edinburgh.

He quit top-level cricket in 2002 due to an ongoing ankle injury, his career incomplete. "I didn't really perform at the highest level when I got my chance, which I've still got regrets about.

"I believe if I'd accessed Gary Bartlett more - he was always my mentor, coach, masseur - then I would've done better. If I'd packed him in my suitcase I might've played till my mid 30s.

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"I had a lot of confidence in him and he seemed to give me a lot of confidence. If I look at things at the moment, working with Bondy [New Zealand bowling coach Shane Bond] would be great for any young, quick bowler. He has them going pretty well.

"I had Ashley Ross who wanted me to bowl chest-on and Dayle Hadlee wanted me side-on, and I got a bit confused about which action to use."

Humour is never far away when Bulfin is around.

It is 15 years since he played for New Zealand. Those were the days.

- The Dominion Post

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