Thanks to Tony Jensen for providing us with a preview of the Manawatu Lawn Bowls Interclub Competition.
“Manawatu Bowls Interclub commences on Saturday and team entries in both men’s and women’s Interclub are down one team from last season.
Johnston Park are gone from both competitions. The Club says it is all about depth and maintain they no longer have the players to compete with the town clubs. Many of their players say they are no longer able to handle the rigours of three games in a day.
Two other clubs who have been regular supporters of Interclub are Te Kawau and Foxton and Beach and neither is represented in any division this season. It is not a problem unique to Manawatu and with the second division also proceeding to a national title many clubs seem to be targeting that as an option where they can be more competitive.
The upshot is there are three womens and four mens teams entered for Division One. Terrace End, Palmerston North and Terrace End are competing in both competitions while Takaro is the fourth mens entry.
Northern on paper look the strongest of the women’s teams but as with any sport Bowls has a habit of not working out on paper. Feona Sayles will play their singles and with the contest being fought over two full rounds achieving better than 50/50 in singles will be crucial and things may be dictated by who plays the discipline for Terrace End. Their great stalwart Bev Budd is unavailable and while they have settled on the seven players, positions haven’t been confirmed. Much of Terrace End’s success or otherwise will depend on Fran Frith, Sherryn Blake and Georgie Kahui-Rogers without Budd leading the way.
Joan Ware plays singles for Palmerston North and she will make her presence felt as always.
The Northern four looks very strong from Viv Lozell at skip to Sue Meyer leading compared to the Palmerston North four and the likely Terrace End four both of which won’t match Northern’s experience at this level.
Sharon Sims and Noeleen Elston play the pair for Northern and both already have Centre titles this season. I would be picking Northern will win the tournament with Terrace End heading Palmerston North for second.
There looks to be little between Northern and Palmerston North and the winner of the men’s interclub will likely come from these two sides. Ray Lovie played himself to almost superstar status last season and he has been rewarded with the Northern singles spot – the loneliest place in Bowls on a bad day. Ross Ellery has been Palmerston North’s singles exponent for some years but this time he gives way to Chris Barrett. Barrett has not matched his previous success since his move to Palmerston North but over the years when he has properly applied himself at singles he has been almost a shoe-in at interclub. He will need to be in that previous vintage form to match Lovie, Brian Looker (Terrace End) and Lawrie Gordon for Takaro.
Palmerston North have Pat Horgan and Graeme Cooley playing pairs and their matches against Phillip Skoglund and Terry Johnson for Northern could be tournament deciding. I can’t split them but the Takaro pairing of Barry Wynks and Terry Rossiter won’t be out of it especially if they strike tracks that suit their Alpha Bowls. Terrace End have youngster Adam Johnston leading for Don Sones who has not played at this level for some time and may be struggling to compete with the other three teams.
Terrace End have placed great responsibility on Shane Rogers to skip their four which will have crusty character Ashley Anderson leading, and the in form Clayton Simpson at two. There is immense experience with a spice of youthful vigour in all the fours combinations and as such who leads best will be critical. Cameron Nairne fills the role for Northern, Bruce Harris for Takaro and they will all have their work cut out to match Ellery. He has not been in vintage form, failing to qualify in both the centre pairs and triples but the old adage “class is permanent, form is temporary” will likely apply and his doggedness under pressure is well known.
I can’t split Northern and Palmerston North for first and second and I expect Takaro will be barking at their heels all the way.
The second division for both genders have strong entries numerically with 11 in the men’s contest and six in the women’s event. Three teams, Northern, Palmerston North and Johnston Park have two teams in Division two but they can only meet their clubmates in a final with two sections being played and all those clubs having teams on the opposite side of the draw.
Division One Teams:
Northern: Feona Sayles (singles), Sharon Sims, Noeleen Elston (pairs), Viv Lozell, Anna Davis, Chris Quinn, Sue Meyer (fours)
Terrace End; Fran Frith, Sherryn Blake, Georgie Kahui-Rogers, June Krivan, Raewyn Sadler. Sharon Groves and Ailsa Lindsay
Palmerston North: Joan Ware (singles), Pat Cohr and Marilyn Free (pairs), Ngaire Cowen,Jewell Griggs, MargaretHumphreys and Mary McConway (fours).
Northern: Ray Lovie (singles), Terry Johnson and Phillip Skoglund (pairs), Craig Gush, Mark Noble, Grant Davis and Cameron Nairne (fours)
Terrace End: Brian Looker (singles), Don Sones and Adam Johnston (pairs), Shane Rogers, Grant Simms, Clayton Simpson and Ashley Anderson (fours)
Palmerston North: Chris Barrett (singles), Pat Horgan and Graeme Cooley (pairs), Brian Little, Steve Toms, Jacob Aldrich and Ross Ellery (fours)
Takaro: Lawrie Gordon (singles), Barry Wynks and Terry Rossiter (pairs), Ian Johnson, Terry Curtis, Clark Norris and Bruce Harris (fours).