There is one player who will definitely capture more attention than most at this year’s VC Cup Bowls tournament at the Raumati Bowling Club.
Former All Black player and coach, Alex “Grizz” Wyllie is a member of a team from North Canterbury which has entered for the annual event, now in its 34th year. Wyllie will bring with him some team mates from the Woodend club which competed in the inaugural televised Bowls3Five competition, including his regular skip Na Katae.
While instantly recognisable and famous for his rugby achievements, Wyllie says he often wishes he had taken up bowls at a much younger age. “I felt I was too young, but now see how good the young players are. It’s certainly not the sole domain of retired folk”.
Alex Wyllie has enjoyed the game for many years, but started playing regularly only seven seasons ago. Like many sports people or personalities, his early foray into the sport was in invitation events or social games. Often these had been organised as charity events which Wyllie was always happy to support. Having followed most sports during his active rugby playing and coaching career, Wyllie was comfortable with bowls when he eventually engaged in it on a more regular basis.
The VC Cup is played in memory of Keith Elliot who won the Victoria Cross for his exploits in the first battle of El Alamein during World War 2. Elliot passed away in Raumati in 1989. As a further tribute in his honour and before the first bowl is delivered, the Raumati Bowling Club will unveil a sign which refers to their new green as the Keith Elliot VC Green.
The tournament is being played on the 29th and 30th of this month.