Old timer lives for his bowling

Brian Anderson, of Hawera, says he has plenty of days left on the green.
Brian Anderson, of Hawera, says he has plenty of days left on the green.

Brian Anderson has three interests in life - racehorses, his business and bowls.

The Anderson Pies founder threw his first bowl down the green at age 22 and, now 79, he's still going strong.

Playing out of the Alton Club since 1956, Anderson has competed in the Taranaki Open fours since 1959.

He's only missed three tournaments.

His South Taranaki team won their seventh straight victory yesterday to qualify for post- section play, which suggested age was no barrier.

"When you've been around as long as I have you get a bit more cunning than all the others, you see."

Experience was now his biggest asset, he said.

"If you don't learn something over 56-odd years then you must be thick."

Although he's quick to point out he's not quite as sharp as he used to be.

"Back in the 70s and 80s I was top money.

"But I'm on the downward slide now and I know it. You're just not as consistent, that's the only difference."

To get a picture of what Anderson was like in his heyday, one only needs to watch his two sons, Mark and Grant, both former title holders and strong contenders in this year's tournament.

His son Steven was also a dab hand, but gave up the sport after orders from the wife, he said.

"She told him she'd move out if he carried on playing bowls. And instead of helping her pack her bags to move out he moved out of bowls, the silly bugger."

The Taranaki gold star player and former Taranaki representative said he had many a good yarn from his bowling days. However, one story stood out.

He recalls a time when he was 24 and playing a bunch of "old blokes" who tried to pull the wool over his eyes. "One chap says 'oh you're three down' and went to sweep the bowls away, and I said 'hang on a minute, I think there's five there'.

"I was young but I was smarter than they thought. I was alert, they couldn't take one over me."

Now at the age of an "old bloke" himself, he swore there was no chance he'd be doing the same to the younger ones. "Oh no, I'm what they call an honest bowler."

Anderson said it was the social atmosphere on the green which has kept him going, and he had no intention of giving it up.

"Retirement has never come into it, it's not on the agenda."

Yesterday's roundup: Page 14

Taranaki Daily News