National champions . . Celebrating winning the Clubs New Zealand Men's Indoor Bowls Championship fours are (from left) Norm Robertson, Mike Howard and Neil Gilbert. PHOTO: KAYLA HODGE

“It felt like you were at the Olympics”.

As a medal was draped around his neck, after the Oamaru Club won the Clubs New Zealand Men’s Indoor Bowls Competition last week, that is how Mike Howard felt.

Howard, alongside Norm Robertson, Neil Gilbert and loan Whanganui player Ian Arnel, won the fours competition in Christchurch, beating Woolston Club 7-6 in the final. The singles, pairs and triples contests were held throughout the week.

It is the first time the Oamaru Club has won the fours competition. The club won the triples in 2007.

“It was just too unreal. You enter these tournaments and you just want to do the best you can, you don’t really expect to go all the way through and beat the teams,” Howard said.

About 50 teams competed in the fours competition, and Oamaru played nine games throughout the day.

Oamaru played a hard-fought match against Palmerston North – which had won the triples title the day before – and the team was “confident they were going to tip us too”.

The Oamaru players were rapt with the result, after nine tough games, he said.

“You got through one marathon and then you had another one.”

Gilbert, who had won single and doubles titles at the Clubs New Zealand Men’s Indoor Bowls Competition in the 1990s, skipped the Oamaru club this year.

“Everyone played great bowls throughout the day. If someone missed one end, someone else stepped up,” he said.

“I’m still waiting for an easier game but it never arrived.”

The team would let the win “sink in” before it considered entering another competition.