Click to read a full report of the Julia Wallace Open Mixed Pairs, plus all the latest Bowls news in Manawatu, from Tony Jensen…
“Northern Bowling Club hosted the Manawatu Open 2-4-2 mixed pairs over Labour Weekend and it was their own elite combination Sharon Sims and Mark Noble who prevailed after looking unassailable for much of the tournament.
They breezed through their qualifying matches and then disposed of the husband and wife combinations of the Baileys of Northern and the Jensens of Johnston Park before encountering another tough composite combination in Bev Budd from Terrace End and Ray Lovie also of Northern. It was a grinding first half of the match before Sims and Noble asserted superiority in the closing ends.
Their final opponents were Fran Frith and Grant Simms of Terrace End who had disposed of another favoured unit in Barry Wynks and Feona Sayles in their quarterfinal before seeing off a most competitive pair in Kevin Suisted and Mere Freyer in their semi-final.
In the final Sims and Noble were just too tough, the 15-9 margin showing just how difficult they are to score against. New Zealand witnessed on Sunday just how difficult it is to win any world title and it is well to reflect that Sims has succeeded at that level on several occasions.
For his part Noble is a Gold Star with bar holder from the Wellington Centre who is also one of New Zealand’s few chess grand masters. The brilliant planning and anticipation developed in that sport shows through in his reading and building of a bowls head. Selector Eric Watson will no doubt be keen to have him available and being well performed in all disciplines will add to his asset value.
We move onto the the National Club Triples event this coming weekend and entries are a little disappointing with the men attracting 26 teams and the women ten. Quality is there in large doses in the women’s draw with teams skipped by the likes of Chris Quinn (Nth), Sherryn Blake (TE), Viv Lozell (Nth), Robyn Schischka (JP) and Sue Meyer (Nth) but it has the look that Terrace End and Northern will be about at final time.
Twenty-four of the 26 men’s entries come from just five Clubs in Takaro, Terrace End, Northern, Johnston Park and Palmerston North with Ashhurst and hokowhitu providing single entries.
I have an ongoing concern for the quality of play in our game when players are reluctant to pit themselves against the best. Most of the other nine clubs in the centre are capable of fielding teams with the ability to compete at Centre level but to achieve the first step is to enter.
I well recall my first year in the game When the Nationals were on in Wellington and four of us as first year players at the Silverstream Club entered the fours. As could be expected we never won a game but in those three days I learnt more about the game than I could in any other way in a comparable period. We struck the losing pairs finalists (Jones and Patterson from Southbridge) first up and were beaten about 48-7 but getting the seven shots against them was a thrill in itself.
• Fran Frith tells me she is away to the New Zealand open and will play all disciplines. She teams with Hawera’s Christyn Stampa in team events.
• Liz Rossiter gave me a tune-up on the weekend for having the temerity to suggest her husband Terry wouldn’t win Takaro’s singles final against Laurie Gordon last weekend. Some astute judges tell me his form at the moment is impeccable and the most shots he conceded in any match was seven.