Bowling on with life despite their health worries

MURRAY HILLS
Last updated 07:28 25/01/2013

Relevant offers

Cliff Mitchell-Burnard and his team of bowlers from the Te Kuiti are your real life battlers.

All four are just happy to be playing bowls.

A couple of years ago, Mitchell- Burnard's days on the green looked numbered, with the Te Kuiti skip battling cancer.

The other three have all had their scares. Number three Keith Waghorn has battled prostate cancer, Mitchell-Burnard's father- in-law Gary Snellgrove has had a stroke, while lead Peter Lange has No 1 diabetes.

"We're a roving chemist shop. The breakfast table is covered in pills. It's no wonder we've got a minister with us," he said referring to "Father Ted" Hamilton in one of the other Te Kuiti teams.

But there's no stopping this team. They posted their sixth wins yesterday morning to join the list of qualifiers for post-section in the Taranaki Open fours men's bowls tournament.

Mitchell-Burnard said he was fighting fit.

"I had chemo, radiation, stem cell replacement, the lot. I had it just before I played in the 2010 tournament, I was just starting to lose my hair that tournament," said the 60-year-old.

Incredibly, Mitchell-Burnard and his team made it through to the final three years ago, only to lose to Ian Dalton and his team from Tauranga South.

"The health is good now. I can have a beer or two. You have to live life." And that he's doing, enjoying bowls with his mates.

"We've had the same team for the last seven years. I've been playing on and off in this tournament for more than 25 years. I wouldn't miss it.

"We rent the same house every year and have already booked it for next year." Mitchell-Burnard said the Te Kuiti club was represented by three teams in the TSB Bank-sponsored tournament this year.

"That's the most we've ever had. We've got a dozen junior bowlers up there and we'll probably have four teams next year. The new guys are absolutely loving the tournament."

Yesterday, Mitchell-Burnard chalked up their sixth win when they beat a Kaitaia team skipped by Waitara's John Niwa at the Fitzroy greens in New Plymouth.

"Johnny was filling in for them when one of them was sick," said Mitchell-Burnard. "I was born in Waitara and I know Johnny well. I'll be playing with him at the New Zealand Chartered Clubs' tournament in Tauranga in two weeks."

Ad Feedback

- © Fairfax NZ News

Waitara's Jason Matthews
Master stroke

Waitara's Jason Matthews shows his class during the first day of the Fisher and Paykel Taranaki Easter Masters surf competition held at Arawhata yesterday.  

Frankley Rd New Plymouth
Rustic and elegant

Home's French Provincial design is part of a special lifestyle close to the city.

Adrian Oliver
Basics go begging for Airs

When you are playing with a depleted roster you generally have to do the basics right.

Warwick Lahmert
Spotswood deal to Southern

Spotswood United bounced back to thump defending champions Southern.

Clyde Bishop
Storm wreaks havoc

Tropical storm Ita downed trees and powerlines and drowned the Taranaki region.

Special offers
Opinion poll

What do you think of the NPDC's decision not to give iwi representation and voting rights?

Agree, it is great for democracy.

Disagree, iwi need to be engaged.

Don't care

Vote Result

Related story: Dismay as iwi voting rights denied

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content

TDN rachel stewart

Riding Shotgun

with Rachel Stewart

with Gordon Brown

Second Thoughts

with Gordon Brown

Matt Rilkoff's perspective of comtempory life

The Rilkoff Files

Matt Rilkoff's perspective of contemporary life

tdn kathryn collumn

Under the Sky Tower

With Kathryn Calvert

Gordon Burnside

Gordon Burnside

The self-confessed bard of Brixton, offers views on life, politics and Akubra hats.

TDN The Weekend

The Weekend

with Glenn McLean

Family Notices
Small-celebrations-TDN

Celebrations

View marriage and birth notices from around the region

Small-Deaths-TDN

Death Notices

View obituaries from around the region