Thanks to Tony Jensen for the latest news from Lawn Bowls in Manawatu
“Should we manage to get in two full days play at the National Club fours on the weekend the Manawatu Executive will breathe a collective sigh of relief.
It has been a very average summer weather wise and clubs have also been under pressure playing club championships on the recent statutory holidays to catch up. Two full days at the weekend should see all women’s events completed and the men down to a semi-final in the singles and a final in the fours meaning the programme will be completed on 18 February with any luck.
From there regional finals and interclub/intercentre will take precedence and they will be completed just before champion of champion events. Weather permitted eight womens teams will compete in the fours and 24 mens teams. The event will be run at Northern so three greens in use will give a good sight. Some of my recent predictions have been well astray but in the women’s event I would expect there will be little between any of the teams which are made up of four from Northern, two from Terrace End and one each from Johnston Park and Palmerston North.
Seven clubs are represented in the mens field with Palmerston North seven and Northern five supplying the equivalent of a section between them. Neither selector has named their top seven yet for the impending intercentre so we can expect some very competitive feeling in some matches. Mark Noble plays Pat Horgan first up and with selector Eric Watson in the Horgan line-up Noble has a last opportunity to impress. Likewise Shane Rogers will front against Horgan in the second round and Rogers will also be keen to cement his place.
In the other section Chris Barrett will have to get past Brian Looker from Terrace End and the unflappable Terry Johnson from Northern but he is in top form having partnered Bob Williams to win Palmerston North’s pairs on Waitangi Day. Ray Lovie has had a quiet season by his standards and he also meets Looker and Johnson.
• One of the “must enter” tournaments in the Manawatu is the annual Hospice tournament on 10 March and this year there is absolutely nothing in the Centre being played against it. While some Clubs may have one or two championships to run off there should be no reason we cannot pack three greens at Northern. The tournament usually raises about $5000 for the Hospice including as it does major raffles and an auction. John Graham is our usual auctioneer and that entertainment is worth the entry fee alone. Barry Gush is once again the organiser and apart from getting your entry in Barry would also appreciate donations for raffles and the auction. This is one occasion when bowlers need to put aside cross club prejudices and support an organisation that touches us all at some stage.
• Bowls has lost two very good friends in the last fortnight. Marilyn Sixtus, though not playing a lot herself had been a grand support for her husband Vern who has been a fantastic administrator in the game for many years and has held every position on the Manawatu executive at some stage. Marilyn died after a short illness and at her funeral bowlers were also mourning the untimely passing of Neil Priske from Terrace End. A handy bowler who was absolutely fearless and would call shots none of us could play Priskie was another able administrator. We will miss his boisterous presence.