Thanks to Grant Hassall and the Taranaki Daily News, for providing us with the latest lawn bowls news from Taranaki…
“Paritutu favourites for Smee interclub title
With the rugby out of the way and following the successful completion of the open singles over the weekend, the bowls season is now in full flight.
Many clubs are well into the swing of things with championships – despite the always suspect October weather – and this Sunday sees the major men’s interclub competitions start.
The top division, playing for the Bill Smee Trophy, is on at West End, while the second tier is at Hawera Park.
Paritutu are the defending champions in the TSB Realty-sponsored Smee and by virtue of their win last season and a settled playing roster, will begin as the early favourites.
Their hopes will again revolve around Darren Goodin dominating the singles.
He has yet to recapture his form this season, but that is only temporary; and as the old adage goes, class remains.
West End selector Alexander McKay has sprung a surprise by including second-year bowler Jordan Linn in his top squad for the season. Gary Lilley, who continues to battle back from an off-season operation, will skip the four that includes Linn at No2.
Craig Johns will inevitably win more than he loses in the cut-throat singles, but perhaps West End’s best hope for success will come in the form of its pair, Neville Sole and David Bennett.
Sole and Bennett will tangle in the opening round with the Alton duo of John Roberts and Grant Anderson. Having won the title twice in recent years, Alton remain competitive, with Mark Anderson in the singles and Tony Koubaridis skipping the four, but in the short term at least they will have to do it without Bruce Phillips.
Part of the interest in the Smee will centre on how well the youngsters from Nolantown fare. Liam Ranford gave a useful account of himself in the open singles and Nolantown could test the leaders if they start well.
Vogeltown have won some good games in the past in the Smee, without ever threatening the title, and it’s hard to see that changing this time. Dean Elgar will take some beating again and there will be cause for some optimism after the club provided four of the last 16 in the open singles.
It’s a similar story with Fitzroy where they are a couple of players short from being ultra competitive in the seven-man event.
That leaves Waimea and the second West End side as the likely tailenders. Waimea have lost Brian Kjestrup, now at Paritutu, and Peter Scott, who is living in Wellington, while the lack of a singles player will prohibit the second West End team.
* It has been a long time between drinks for the Inglewood men in Taranaki open tournaments.
In fact it is nearly 20 years since the club last won an open men’s title, although it has claimed a mixed pairs and consolation pairs in between times. Fittingly, the last win came when Jack O’Sullivan’s team of Sonny Lahood, Harley Crawford and Kelvin Jackson triumphed in the New Year fours.
While O’Sullivan senior was tied up with other bowls on Monday and missed seeing his protege, Gerry, succeed, Lahood was there to see it unfold.
With an ageing membership, like most clubs, Inglewood has slipped down the pecking order. As a case in point, this weekend the club’s top side will only compete in the third division. Hopefully, O’Sullivan’s victory can regalvanise one of Taranaki’s most successful clubs.
Grant Hassall ”