Manawatu Lawn Bowls News – Feb 12

Thanks Tony for all the news from the lawn bowling clubs in Manawatu…

“Saturday presents as another good day of bowls watching with finals of mens national club fours and singles being played at Northern.

The singles is at the semi-final stage and Northern have two representatives in Craig Gush and Terry Johnson who will play Brian Schischka (Johnston Park) and Scotty McGavin (Bulls) respectively.

McGavin has often promised plenty without ever quite delivering but he has enough talent to beat this field.  Johnson was in telling form in the fours last weekend and his ability to frustrate opponents with tactics is well known. Gush is the most proven competitor of the four at Manawatu centre level but in recent seasons he has not often featured in singles. Schischka loves the singles discipline but he has seldom featured in the Manawatu since his shift from the Wairarapa a few seasons ago.

The womens singles was an all Johnston Park affair and I tend to think Northern might provide the quinella particularly with a boisterous home crowd likely.

Palmerston North’s Brian Little made no race of his fours semi-final against Neil Petersen (Himatangi Beach) with a scoreline of 23-1 but it was more the manner in which the win was achieved that impressed me. Ross Ellery off the front is pressure personified and with Steve Toms (two) and Graeme Cooley (director) looking right at home in their spots they will be a formidable opponent for Johnson in the final.

At number three Adam Johnston really looked to be coming to grip with Manawatu conditions for Johnson and he  seems to handle pressure well. John Proctor at lead is never far away but he will have to lift to match Ellery. Johnson’s two is Peter Dellabarca – over 70 he might be but no man loves a good scrap on the bowling green more than he does. An enthralling final looks in store and it is set down to be played at 2-00pm after the singles final.

To add lustre to the occasion Northern will complete their mens and womens singles on the same green during the day. Phillip Skoglund Jnr (two lives) plays Ray Lovie in the mens potential final and Feona Sayles and Sharon Sims are among the womens remaining field of five. There will be some great watching here as well.

• One of those clubmate versus clubmate happenings that one team wants to forget and the other wants to remember occured when Don Sones played Eric Cairncross (Palmerston North) during section play in the national club fours. Cairncross who was teamed with Wayne Mouldey, Jake Aldrich and Paul Rowe was leading 12-3 only to drop a maximum eight on the seventh end. Those drawing the shots along with Sones were Brian and Ron Henn and Dave Free. For the record Sones went on to win both the game and the  cross leaner bragging rights.

• No sooner will we complete the National club championships than champion of champion events commence with singles the following weekend.  Champion of champions also sees some good open tournaments being played in tandem for those not representing their clubs. The first of these will be the Johnston Park pairs on 25 and 26 February and Dannevirke’s hetero triples on the same weekend.

• While talking of tournaments I was reflecting  with a group of bowlers recently about the ethic that prevailed when I first took the game up. Recognised skips took a colt to at least one tournament during the season. It is a tradition that could well be reintroduced.

• One of the bigger tournaments in New Zealand is the National Chartered Clubs which was held in Oamaru this year with 128 teams competing. Manawatu doesn’t feature strongly with entries usually but Dannevirke sent George Withey, Bob Collins, Bill Illsley and Gary Read on the long trek in early February. They represented the area with credit making the last 13 before falling to Frankton Junction 14-12 in their last game. It’s a tournament I’ve been to several times and it is a good week.

• I got told at the weekend that “The column” is getting a bit boring with the same old. I think the critic might well be right but it is increasingly difficult to come up with a news angle when no news is forthcoming from clubs. Email your news to



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