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Golden touch .. Peter Wylie (left) and Steve Walker won the pairs at the recent New Zealand disabled bowls championships in Blenheim. Walker was also in the team that won the triples. PHOTO: DANIEL BIRCHFIELD

Oamaru duo Steve Walker and Peter Wylie were in top form at the New Zealand disabled bowls championships in Blenheim recently.

Walker and Wylie won the pairs event, while Walker was also in the triples team that claimed first place at the tournament at the Blenheim Bowling Club.

The fact the pair got to team up at all was something of a fluke, according to Walker, who bowls at the Maheno Bowling Club.

“We got our names drawn out of a hat, so it was a coincidence we got to play together,” he said.

While they had played against each other several times locally – Wylie plays for the Meadowbank Bowling Club – they had never played alongside each other before.

“It was a good combination,” Wylie, a former New Zealand representative, said.

“We both had our A game going at the right time.”

Walker, who won silver in the pairs at the tournament last year, was happy he was able to go one better this year, and even happier he was able to achieve the feat with a fellow North Otago player.

In the pairs, 11 teams each played four games to qualify for the semifinals, while in the triples, seven teams played the same number of games to reach the playoffs.

Walker and Wylie defeated Sally Engi (Manawatu) and Bryan Gibson (Canterbury) in the decider, while Walker combined with Jane Ware (Manawatu) and Rod Abbot (Canterbury) to win the triples.

Wylie, who was confined to a wheelchair after an accident more than 40 years ago, said none of the games were easy.

“It was a pretty high standard of bowling with most people playing regularly in their own club championships and that kind of thing.

“It’s a wonderful sport for disabled people. It’s something we can compete in on par with everybody.”

Walker, who has cerebral palsy, said he didn’t “feel disadvantaged” when he played.

“It’s good to play with people that understand and are in the same circumstances.

The pair, who have both played for more than a decade, are both set to play at the New Zealand Open in February.