The Rony Giuliano Ground, on a wet Wednesday in New South Wales. As may have been reported before, it hadn’t been an overly successful tour sport-wise up to this point. However, the chance for victory, any kind of victory, even this late in the holiday still beckoned. Not on the cricket fields, or the beaches, but on the bowling greens of Clovelly.

The battle of Room 702, a beer match in its finest traditions, was to unfold at Clovelly Beach Bowls Club, a tranquil spot for a tranquil sport. With views of Tamarama, Bondi and Coogee Beaches, the Tasman Sea as well as some dramatic cliff top scenery, the bowls club milks this for all it’s worth and for very good reason. The rinks were packed with beginners and old pros ambling about their business, the young and the old taking part in this rather fogeyish pastime which has, in recent years, risen in popularity over here.

I partnered Rex to form Team Wedges while the other Henry combined with James to become The Dogs of Shaw. The rules were laid down and the beers bought. Invoking the spirit of Sir Francis Drake, David Gourlay and, err, my Uncle Tom, we duly got out the mat and played to the west.

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Gentlemen in waiting: Rex, as he has with such élan and regularity this holiday, cradles a beer. James, meanwhile, performs something he has done with similar distinction in recent weeks.

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El Matador: Henry rehearses getting out of the way of a Mitchell Johnson bouncer. Or gets a glimpse of a blonde jogger running up the hill. Or checks the progress of his last bowl. Or something. Bless.

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All in the wrist: The sound you can hear in the background is of a nephew being disowned. The invitation to join the prestigious Wilstead Bowls Club must have got lost in the post. Again.

And the winner of this hastily-convened clash of the sporting heavyweights?

It certainly wasn’t bowls.

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