A Family Affair

13 Jan 2015

A recent family clash showed that age is no barrier to success, or that youth necessarily has an advantage, in the sport of lawn bowls.

In the qualifying rounds of the Canterbury Junior Men’s singles championships, Grandad, Ted Carmichael came up against Grandson, Tom Carmichael. 

The match clearly supported the notion that lawn bowls truly is a game anyone can be competitive in, regardless of age.  Grandson Tom got out to an early lead of 9 – 2 after six ends in the race to 21 shots.  Surrounded by approximately a dozen spectators glued to the action, they were so animated with excitement, at one stage they had to be reminded that there were other games being played.  Ted’s fellow Gold Card holders and supporters were heard commenting “looks like Ted’s in for an early shower.”

The old bull cunningly slowed the game down, frustrating the young bull who tried to prove a point by driving (blasting) Grandad off the rink and missing.  After 13 ends it was 10 all and Grandad was on a roll.  He eventually won with a 21 to 15 score.

What was your overall impression of the game?

Tom - “Highly competitive.  Neither of us was going to lie down.  However, he got the better of me this time.  He won, but you can put your money on it, I’ll get him back.”

What did you think about playing your Grandad? 

“Nice to play someone from your own family and to share the same interest in bowls.  Probably doesn’t happen that often where a Grandad and Grandson can play each other competitively.” 

What was it like coming up against your Grandson? 

Ted - “Fun.  We are reasonably close.  Both highly competitive personalities.  We communicate regularly during the week and I enjoy his company.  I also beat him the only other time we have met competitively.”

What was your overall impression of the game? 

“The banter, fun.  It was absolutely lovely because it was played in a keen but sportsman like spirit.”


To gain some background on the players, Ted, 73 years old, was a keen golfer – in his prime was playing off a six handicap.  When the 2011 Christchurch earthquakes destroyed his golf club and curtailed opportunities for members to meet even socially, Ted started going to the Parklands Bowling Club along with some of his other golfing buddies for the fellowship side.  Persuaded three years ago to give bowls a try, Ted, by his own admission, says “I was hooked but for the earthquakes I’d still be playing golf at the Waimairi Beach Golf Club.  Bowls is more addictive than golf.  I can spend thirty minutes having a roll up as opposed to three or four hours for a round of golf.”

Grandson Tom, 25 years of age, was a very useful cricketer who played in the Shirley Boy’s High School first eleven.  He tried golf for a while but was then was encouraged, by his other Grandad, Peter Harpur, to give bowls a go.  He joined the Christchurch Club.

Both are in their third year of playing bowls.  There has been some great success throughout this time.  Tom is a former Colts singles champion and is also in the Canterbury development squad.


Thanks to Paddy Brandon from Parklands Bowling Club for sending in the info for this great story.

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