Thanks to Grant Hassall and the Taranaki Daily News for the news from Taranaki…
“Taranaki turned in a spectacular performance to claim the men’s honours in the regional inter-centre bowls contest at Naenae, in the Hutt Valley, on Saturday.
But while the men sailed into the national finals, which will be held in Auckland on March 24 and 25, the Taranaki women managed just three wins to finish last in the four-team event.
“They all played well,” men’s selector Dennis Osborne said. “It was a pleasure to watch.”
Leading the charge in the Revital Fertilisers-sponsored Taranaki team was the pairs combination of John Roberts and Craig Johns, who won all three games.
Singles player Darren Goodin was on a song with two wins, while Gary Lilley’s four of John Garrud, Mark Anderson and Dean Elgar had one of each – a loss, a win and a draw.
Taranaki finished on 13 match points, followed by Wellington on 11, Wanganui on 10 and Kapiti on two.
Goodin scored a mighty 25-24 win over Wellington’s Justin Goodwin, the 1999 national singles winner, in the opening round. He maintained a handy advantage throughout and closed to 24-18 before Goodwin upped the ante and charged back.
But Goodin held his nerve and drew the winning shot, a toucher, with his final bowl.
In the second game, against Wanganui’s Clint Park, Goodin was nosed out 25-22, but he made amends with a massive 25-5 effort over Kapiti’s Trevor Tuatara in the final game.
With Roberts leading well, the pairs were comfortable winners in the first and third rounds, over Kapiti’s Dave Walker and Ray Boffa 24-16, and Wanganui’s Tony McCrae and Bruce Winterburn 23-11.
But the real story was in the second round match against Wellington’s Blake Signal and his Christchurch-imported lead, Shayne Sincock.
The pair dropped two fours and a six, when Johns drove off both of Roberts’ bowls, to trail 15-1. But Roberts continued to draw shots and when required Johns converted the heads to turn the match into a 21-18 victory, which was crucial in the overall wash-up.
The Lilley four went into the final end its opening game, against Wanganui’s Ray Park, with a two shot buffer.
On the skip-change over Wanganui held one before Park drew two more to give the River City a 15-14 win. However, there was no denying Taranaki against Rex Holmes’ Kapiti four, with Garrud setting the side up for a resounding 20-6 win. The last game, against Wellington’s Ben King, ended in a 10-10 draw. Wellington scored two shots on the final end to do it, but by then, it was only academic as Taranaki’s differential was superior.
However, the news was not good on the women’s front, where Wellington won (12 points), followed by Wanganui and Kapiti (nine each) and Taranaki (on six). Taranaki lost all three games in the opening round.
Singles player Nellie Hewson was the best performed. She was beaten 25-20 by Moira Brewer, but then toppled the nationally-carded Clare McCaul (Wellington) 25-22 and Dianne Patterson (Wanganui) 25-21.
The pair, Janice Ropitini and Pauline Davy, lost all three games – 31-16, 25-11 and 36-7 – in a disappointing effort.
Gale Fache’s four of Margy Carey, Kath Brown and Denise Cooper were walloped 27-4 first off by the impressive Mandy Boyd (Wellington). But Carey’s good lead play was rewarded when the side rebounded to beat Anne Loveridge (Wanganui) 19-12, but the side then fell 17-6 to Kapiti’s Dot Collis.”