Manawatu Lawn Bowls News – 29th Jan

Thanks to Tony Jensen for his latest wrap of all the Lawn Bowls news in Manawatu…

“I never have any truck with players who blame weather conditions for failure at bowls or any other sport for that matter but the number of boilovers I have seen in recent weeks leads me to believe there might be some credence in the excuses being provided.

I heard a number of bowlers bemoaning the fact their narrow bowls were no good in Saturday’s constant winds during the National Club singles at the Northern greens. Phillip Skoglund jnr did not advance past the first round of post-section play being defeated 25-20 by fourth year Terrace End bowler Mike Hodge. To blame conditions however would be to deny how well Hodge played and such a prestigious scalp was due reward for the hours of practice he has been putting in.

Other games that had the stamp of upset on them were Terry Puklowski’s (Johnstn Park) 25-17 win over Chris Barrett (Palmerston North), Northern’s Peter Dellabarca winning 25-24 over Ray Lovie and Mark Noble 25-20 (both his clubmates), and Brian Schischka’s (Johnston Park) 25-18 win over Takaro’s Barry Wynks. As the last eight round commenced Craig Gush (Northern) was the only member of Eric Watson’s 14 man representative team remaining and the clubhouse humour revolved round the quality of the bowlers out marking the games!

When the competition is completed at Northern on 18 February Craig Gush will play Schischka while Scotty McGavin (Bulls) will meet another Northern player Terry Johnson. Indeed Johnson and Schischka were two users of narrow bowls who were in excellent form. After being so wide of the mark with predictions for last weeks games I’ll be sitting on the fence this time.

Before I leave weather conditions I well recall advice given by one time New Zealand coach John Murtagh nearly 20 years ago and a copy of which I still refer to today. “The weather, surface and the opposition are of no concern to you, concern yourself only with your game”. The advice doesn’t age and when not in form a bowler’s best friend is the mirror – Look hard at the image and work out where you went wrong.

The women finished their singles event and it was a delight for me at a club and personal level to see two Johnston Park players meet in the final. Robyn Schischka beat Lyn Jensen 25-14 and it was the third title for Schischka in the last 12 months having won last season’s champion of champion triples and this season’s National club triples. When playing in Wairarapa Schischka had twice raided the Manawatu to earn an open fours and an open singles so she will now be entitled to a Manawatu Gold star. Her form has been excellent.

• Eric Watson doesn’t waste his smiles but he was on the borderline of giving one when his A representative side beat off Kapiti, Wellington and Wairarapa in the annual quadrangular event at Palmerston North on Sunday. The team lost all disciplines in the first round then bounced back to clean sweep the last two rounds. All players were working into good form by the end of the day and it will be hard to change the top seven. Those who are pushing are Craig Gush and Mark Noble who combined splendidly in the B team fours for three wins and Laurie Gordon who played very good singles and could easily lead a pair or four. Manawatu finished second to Wellington in the B section.

• Wellington won both womens events at Terrace End with Manawatu runner-up in the A event and third in the B tournament. Wellington’s depth was demonstrated with Mandy Boyd who was runner-up in all three events at the recent nationals and the well performed Kaaren Guilford both playing in the B team. Wellington won’t be there when Manawatu goes onto the Regional Intercentre competition (Manawatu hosted) on 4 March and Manawatu will face Hawkes Bay, Gisborne/East Coast and Wairarapa. It’s all down to top sevens now with the representative season over for the B teams and there is real interest in what the final make-up of teams will be.

• I couldn’t help but observe the dire state of the game in Wairarapa. They finished last in all four contests with Ian Monaghan’s three singles wins in the A section the only real ray of hope. There was a time when they competed strongly with the big brother neighbours but those days seem to be gone.

• Many Clubs will be getting urgent about club championships next weekend with time having been lost to weather and champion of champion events looming. Northern have a two bowl any gender triples tournament on Waitangi Day and Des Meyer tells me it is a 9-30 start and not 12-30 as shown in the centre handbook.

• Woodville report to me that they had an outstandingly successful women’s gala on 18 January attracting 14 teams, many of good quality judged by the prize winning skips, Schischka, Pat Cohr, Irene Ellis and Bev Ellmers. Robbie McLean one time All Black is the tournament sponsor and has been for 26 years which may be some sort of a record. It still baffles me though how the National Club fours could only attract six teams at closing time which hopefully has now risen to eight. Some tell me it is because centre events are full days of bowls but so are galas. If someone has the answer please let me know.

• Manawatu had three teams at the Taranaki women’s open fours last week, all qualified and two reached the last eight, which was highly commendable in town hall company. The two teams in the last eight were Viv Lozell (skip), Noeline Elston, Carol Davidson and Nita Hannah all Northern and from Palmerston North Ngaire Cowen, jewell Griggs, Margaret Humphreys and Joan Ware.

Good bowling and keep the news coming.

Tony Jensen”

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