Manawatu Lawn Bowls News – 25th Jan

Thanks to Tony Jensen for all the latest news from around the Lawn Bowls clubs in Manawatu…

“Manawatu’s representative sides will be involved in an all or nothing contest this Sunday when the annual Tararua Quadrangular tournament is held in Palmerston North.

The event is contested between Manawatu, Wairarapa, Wellington and Kapiti and only the winners go forward to the National final. The men will be at Palmerston North and the women will be hosted at Terrace End. Both clubs boast greens of real quality which the visitors will find appetising and there is unlikely to be any real home advantage.

Each discipline produces equal points so it is really important each team of pairs and fours carries its weight and the singles player must perform. An average of two out of three wins against each opponent should be enough to produce a win.

I have not seen the Manawatu women’s final selection but I would expect Feona Sayles to be the singles player and play a key role. Her recent competitive efforts in National competition mean she is match fit but Wellington’s Kaaren Guilford has a similar background and outstanding success so will be a key opponent. Manawatu’s best performed women’s player Sharon Sims will also be back to provide mental toughness.

A key team for the men will be Phillip Skoglund Jnr’s four and this has been our least successful discipline in recent times. Chris Barrett will lead for the four and his singles skills will help enormously. Singles player Ross Ellery has had an erratic season, failing to qualify in several events including the national club singles as he has experimented with different bowls. You can’t buy experience like his however and I expect him to perform when the pressure is on. It is winner take all and Wellington will be the toughest opponent for both genders but both Kapiti and Wairarapa will take their share of points.

Second Division teams will also compete but these do not go onto a national final. However bragging rights over big brother Wellington should be sufficient motivation to see these teams also lift their level of performance and I like the look of the men’s second team.

• The Taranaki men’s open fours has been and gone and Manawatu teams acquited themselves well. When play started there were 214 teams and after four days qualifying these were reduced to 57, nine of which were Manawatu combinations. From a starting point of 16 Manawatu teams that was a very creditable effort. Brian Little’s team of the Henn Brothers Ron and Brian along with Wairarapa’s Ian Monaghan had reached the final last year and they once again went the furthest with their last eight finish. Warren Hausman from Bulls had a team good enough to make the last 16 and while several fours went out in the first round of post section most losses were by narrow margins. In my view it remains New Zealand’s pre-eminent tournament and the 25 end games remain the great drawcard.

• Many of our women bowlers played in Wanganui’s very popular anniversary weekend pairs and Sharon Sims paired once again with her team mate of yesteryear Mary Campbell (Taupo) to finish runner-up.

• After being rained off a fortnight ago the women’s national singles elimination will be completed on Saturday. All three quarter-final games had barely started when the rains came and the match-up between Sayles and Fran Frith will provide both with a tough workout going into Sunday’s rep matches. The other games are between Emily Gray (Takaro) and Chris Quinn (Northern), and Ailsa Lindsay (Terrace End) playing Robyn Schischka from Johnston Park. Lyn Jensen, also Johnston Park has the bye to the semi-final and will play the winner of the Quinn/Gray match.

The men had 26 qualifiers in the event and will be down to a semi-final by Saturday night. I would expect the last four to include Skoglund but Barrett and last year’s winner Ray Lovie are on a collision course to meet in the last eight and the winner of the first round clash between Mark Noble and Shane Rogers will no doubt have other ideas about that. Lovie buried his father this week and he will be keen on a top performance to dedicate to him.

• All in all some top bowls in prospect over the weekend and any bowler wanting to improve their own game would do well to call at the various venues to watch and learn.”

Tony Jensen

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