Amateur bowlers on telly with team mate Alex ‘Grizz’ Wyllie

(L to R) Jenny Anderson, Alex Wylie and Na Katae, Woodend lawn bowlers.

He might look a little more grizzled but this is the unmistakable face, albeit bearded, of Alex Wyllie.

And he is soon to be a hit on television – as a bowler.

The 73-year-old is part of a three-member Woodend club team that will play in a national televised competition called Bowls3 – which is being labelled the equivalent of cricket’s T20.

The six teams selected to compete in the live-to-air competition on Sky Sport, running for six weeks from October 23, are Point Chevalier (Auckland), Stokes Valley (Wellington), Woodend, Stoke (Nelson), Royal Oak (Auckland) and Gore.

Wyllie will play alongside another Canterbury rugby identity Na Katae, who played his career for New Brighton, and Jenny Anderson.

Known for his uncompromising attitude on the rugby field, Wyllie is much more sedate on the bowling green.

“Sometimes I do feel like giving myself an uppercut though. I can get quite vocal but I’m more likely to yell at my own team than the opposition,” he said.

Katae took up bowls eight years ago and has become immersed in the sport and the social aspect that comes with it.

“I used to think that bowls was a sport contained to those on God’s doorstep,” said Katae.

“When I played rugby I was never going to get to play against Richie McCaw but in bowls I’ve got to play against Gary Lawson,” he said of one of New Zealand’s most successful bowlers ever.

Bowls3Five aims to showcase the diversity and personality of the sport, and being the best in the game isn’t a requirement.

Said Wyllie: “We looked at it and thought if you’re talking about top players then that’s not us, but if you’re talking about having some fun and getting stuck into the competitive side of it as well then that’s us. That’s why we sort of put our name forward.”

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