After representing New Zealand for just on 20 years, Paul ‘Girds’ Girdler has resigned as a Blackjack to turn his attention to his family business at Tweed Heads on the New South Wales coast.
But it’s not sayonara to bowls. Paul is still going to be causing mayhem on the bowling greens of his adopted home of Australia, and has even put his hand up to help with New Zealand’s high performance bowls in the future.
“It’s been a great journey,” says Paul. “Wearing the Silver Fern has been like being part of a family. There’s been great moments, great memories, great results and great friendships.”
Paul was born in Scotland in 1964, but was brought up in Dunedin. As a young 17 year old, Don Stuart from the Leith Bowling Club introduced him to bowls and took him under his wing. Don was the make-or-break of Paul – and under Don’s pressure to perform, made him more thick-skinned than a wintering Loch Ness Monster.
In fact his most memorable match was one he lost – against the redoubtable Willie Wood’s Four at the 2000 World Bowls Championships in Scotland. “Willie was walking on water. Our team of Meyer, Brassey, Belliss and myself couldn’t match the precision bowls.”
Over the years, Paul suffered the disappointments of playing at the elite level, but never spat the dummy when he was dropped. Even after not being selected for the 2016 World Championships, Paul bounced back to represent New Zealand in the Commonwealth Game earlier this year. His previous Comm Games was a lot of thick skin before that – in Manchester in 2002.
Wikipedia ranks Paul’s best achievements as a bronze in the 2000 World Outdoor Bowls Championships in Johannesburg with Russell Meyer. And a two-time Asia Pacific gold medallist. The New Zealand Olympics cites his gold in the Eight Nations Fours in 2016, followed by top place on the podium at the Multi Nations event on the Gold Coast in the same year.
“The reality is that Girds has a stunning bowls cv at both national and international level,” observes High Performance and Coach Development Manager Kaushik Patel. “He’ll be hard to replace.”
Thanks for everything, Paul. Give those Aussies heaps on the green.
- 2 Kingscliff Pairs Gold
- 4 Burnside Pairs Gold
- North East Valley Singles Gold
- 1 NSW State Pennant Title
- 1 NSW Premier League Title
- 1 QLD State Pennant Title
- 1 Helensvale 5 a side Winner
- 3 National Inter-centre titles
- 2 National Interclub 7’s titles
- 1 National Super 8 Title
- New Zealand Champ of Champ Singles
- 2000 Malaysia Millennium Pairs Gold
- 2000 Malaysia Millennium Triples Silver
- 2000 World Bowls Pairs Bronze
- 2000 World Bowls Fours Bronze
- 2001 Asia Pacific Championships Pairs Gold
- 2001 Asia Pacific Championships Fours Bronze
- 2002 Hong Kong Classic Pairs Gold
- 2003 Asia Pacific Championships Fours Silver
- 2004 World Bowls Pairs Bronze
- 2004 World Bowls Fours Bronze
- 2006 Hong Kong Classic Singles Gold
- 2015 Asia Pacific Championships Fours Gold
- 2015 Asia Pacific Championships Triples Gold
- 2016 8 Nations Championship Fours Gold
- 2017 6 Nations Championship Fours Gold
- Trans-Tasman Series 1999 to 2004, & 2016 to 2018