Home' Waitomo News : 1 March 2016 Contents 10 WAITOMO NEWS Tuesday, March 1, 2016
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YOUR NEWS, YOUR VIEWS
BY ANDY MCGECHAN
MOKAU’S Adrian Smith knows it’s going to be tough once
again for him to stretch his national title win record to five, but
reckons he’s up for it.
The record four-time former national cross-country champion
had his bid for a fifth crown stymied by fellow Yamaha ace Paul
Whibley last season and, although Whibley did not contest the
2016 series opener near Huntly on February 21, it looks like
Smith still has someone standing in his way this season after
Taupo’s Brad Groombridge won the day at Huntly.
Smith rode his Yamaha YZ250FX into second place overall
with Coatesville’s Sam Greenslade of Coatesville, Pahiatua’s
Charles Alabaster and Howick’s Liam Draper rounding out
the top five.
The 30-year-old says: “I’m pretty happy with how I finished.
I have not been training too hard lately so this is a good result.
I had a very average start. I was about 15th early on, but I
quickly moved up. However, Brad (Groombridge) was too good
for me today [February 21]. He looked comfortable too. He was
going fast without looking like he was trying.
“There are a lot of guys going at this pace this year, so it’s
going to be a tough season,” says Smith.
“Anything can happen in cross-country racing and a rider who
wins round one could easily finish fifteenth at the next round.
“Plenty of times it’s happened that the guy who won the first
round didn’t win the series. That’s what happened to me last
year. I think I can build on my result from round one.”
Smith last won the New Zealand Cross-country Champion-
ships overall in 2014, and the return of Kiwi international
Whibley to NZ after 12 years racing abroad meant Smith had
a huge fight on his hands to keep his crown.
Although he had to settle for overall runner-up, Smith did
win the under-300cc four-stroke class last season.
Still racing his YZ250FX, he continues to take on the riders
with 350cc and 450cc bikes in the chase for overall honours, but
reckons his 250cc bike is more than capable of winning outright.
Rounds two, three and four of the national cross-country
series will be held in Mosgiel on April 3, Taranaki on April 16
and near Nelson on May 14.
Points only from the best three of four rounds are counted, so
riders will discard their worst result, ensuring the battle will
go down to the wire.
BY TODD WARD
FOR half a century, Otorohanga’s John Holt
has been a regular fixture at his beloved Taranaki
Men’s Open Fours bowling tournament.
The Otorohanga Bowling Club life member
played his first tournament in New Plymouth in
1966 and this year marked his 50th appearance.
Held at the Paritutu Bowling Club in January,
Holt competed as skip alongside fellow Otorohanga
club members Michael Tustian, Peter Fisher and
his younger brother Dick Holt.
Although they didn’t claim the elusive open ti-
tle, Holt was recognised for his amazing longevity
with a commemorative trophy presented by New
Plymouth mayor Andrew Judd.
BIONIC MAN: John Holt from Otorohanga received special recognition at the Taranaki
Men’s Open Fours bowling tournament in January for 50 years of participation.
“Being presented that trophy was something
very special – probably one of the highlights of
my life,” he says.
“I love New Plymouth and the Taranaki Open
is the one big tournament I look forward to going
to every year.
“It all started because my dad used to go down
there when he played so I thought I’d just carry
on the tradition.
“Now it’s my favourite tournament.”
This year 186 teams took part.
Holt says his lifelong association with bowls
began as a youngster having accompanied his
father Arnold to the Otorohanga Bowling Club in
the early 1940s.
He became an official member in 1957, launching
a 59-year career that continues to this day.
“In 1957, I took my dad down to the Christmas
tournament and ol’ Jimmy Frew was there,” he
“One of his players hadn’t turned up so he asked
if I could play and the old man said ‘no. He can’t
play. He’s not a member and he needs flat shoes’.
“That’s how tough they were in those days.
“But Jim said ‘there are some flat shoes in the
club house’ and he paid my sub right there on the
And as they say the rest is history.
At his peak, Holt a naturally gifted bowler, has
beaten some of country’s best players including
former New Zealand champions Ron Buchan and
Robbie Robson and compiled a list of highlights he
says are too numerous to recall.
Throughout his 50-years competing in Taranaki
though, Holt has never been able to clinch a coveted
title but on several occasions has qualified for the
top eight playoffs.
He credits his ‘bowls’ longevity to the love and
support of his wife June and their four children
Carol, Lynette, Murray and Anne.
“They look after me pretty good,” he says.
When asked what had changed about the game
in his almost six decades of playing, Holt simply
patted his stomach and the top of his head and
“What I like the most about bowling is catching
up with old friends and meeting new ones. At the
end of the day – that really is the best part.”
Now aged 80, Holt has been labelled the ‘bionic
bowler’ thanks to two knee replacements and says
he will continue bowling as long as his health al-
lows him to.
He is a past president of both the
Otorohanga Bowling Club and King
Country Indoor Bowling Centre as
well as being honoured with life mem-
berships at the Otorohanga Indoor
Bowling Club and Otorohanga Club’s
Indoor Bowling Section.
50yrs and still a favourite
Solid start to Smith’s campaign
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