Delany, Pinker and Holmes all eliminated

As the water started to fall, albeit only in a soft and unobtrusive way, a number of the pre-tournament favourites were eliminated from the 113th Taranaki Open fours on Wednesday. The biggest names to fall were Dan Delany (Royal Oak), Cary Pinker (Wanganui East) and Rex Holmes (Paraparaumu Beach) when they all recorded their third loss.  The other big story of the day was that Peter Belliss (Aramoho) dropped both his games, meaning, if the weather Gods are kind, the Wanganui team will need to win both matches on Thursday to qualify. Delany, the four-time winner, lost in the sixth round 23-22 to Fitzroy’s Colin Christie, despite holding a handy early advantage. Earlier in the day Delany had come from 21-7 down to beat Warren Bellringer (New Plymouth) 26-25, Delany getting the shot with his last bowl. Bellringer’s day didn’t get any better, either, falling to five-winner Ross Henderson (West End). Pinker beat Holmes in the morning 30-12. But then he was edged out 22-19 by five-winner Gary Lilley (West End) in the afternoon to also be eliminated. The double slip-up from the Belliss side was a real surprise as his team had been tracking very well. In the morning, Russell Hardy’s Tower team finally found some form, beating Belliss 27-25, while in the afternoon it was the Fitzroy four headed by Des Brophy that won 27-18. It was Brophy’s fourth win. There were plenty of happy bowlers by the end of the day, nonetheless, with 10 teams having already qualified. Howard Ivory (Wilton) and Mike Cavanagh (Pukekohe) both emerged with the perfect record from section seven.  Cavanagh, who made the last 16 in both 2015 and 2016, beat Gerard Slattery (Hinuera) 25-12 and Richard Meacle (Australia) 27-7. Ivory beat Alan Melrose (Helensville) 30-13 and then eliminated Slattery 25-20. There are also two qualifiers already in section six, with Craig Johns (West End and Rodney Woods (Opunake) both six winners. Johns looms as the best local hope of victory, beating Scott McGavin (Bulls) 29-15 and Philip Drought (Paritutu) 25-6.  Woods and his team of Bob Commane, Paddy Deegan and Kevin Ratahi sneaked past Drought 24-23 and then beat Mark Dudley (Hawera Park) 26-8. The family team headed by Rahotu’s Ian Lowry continued their impressive run to qualify. They ended the hopes of John Sexton (West End) 29-22 and then beat Don Gyde (Inglewood) 37-21. Brian Little’s champion side from 2016 also took the direct route to post section, winning both games. The Palmerston North side beat Terry Osment (Te Awamutu) 24-14 and Joe Peel (Inglewood) 24-11. Kevin Coombe (Aramoho) also qualified with some style. His side beat Gerry O’Sullivan (Inglewood) 26-12 and Garry Banks (Mairangi Bay) 31-18. The results ended the hopes of both O’Sullivan and Banks. It’s been a great week so far for the two Hillcrest teams in the Open, with both Dave Selby and Mort Jones unbeaten. Selby’s side had a trouble-free day beating George Markie (Vogeltown) 30-9 and then notched up win No 6 in beating James Carter (Paritutu) 37-3, while Jones beat Ian Andrews (Paritutu) 24-19 and Bill Johnston (Fitzroy) 27-20. Peter Thomson (Paekakariki) is the other qualifier. Thomson’s side edged Brophy 23-20 in the morning and then beat Peter Sprake (New Plymouth) 21-7 in the afternoon.

Weather permitting, two further rounds will be played on Thursday. Six wins are required to qualify.

Delany survives but upsets elsewhere

Three of the pacesetters have suffered their first defeat on Wednesday morning in the fifth round of the 113th Taranaki men’s Open fours – Peter Belliss (Aramoho), Darren Goodin (Paritutu) and Ray Park (Wanganui). But Dan Delany lives to fight another round – although only just, sneaking past Warren Bellringer (New Plymouth) 26-25.

Belliss was upstaged by Russell Hardy (Tower), who after an uneventful week to date finally found their feet, triumphing 27-25. Goodin, unbeaten until this morning albeit without the convincing nature of Belliss, was tipped up 26-25 by John Hall (Hawera Park), while Park went down 28-15 to the Paraparaumu Beach side entered under the name of Tom Henderson but skipped by Ray Boffa.

In the feature, must-win game at Waitara, it was Cary Pinker (Wanganui East) who remained alive, and Rex Holmes (Paraparaumu Beach) who was eliminated, the river city team racing away to a 30-12 win.

Some light rain was encountered during the morning round and more of the same is expected this afternoon.

A further loss to Delany

Former Blackjack Dan Delany (Royal Oak), a four-time winner of the Taranaki Open, suffered his second defeat during section play of the 113th tournament at Fitzroy yesterday afternoon.

Delany is skipping a familiar side with Mike Nasey and Joe Whitelaw, two players who have shared in multiple Open successes, and one newcomer this year, Gary Cotter. Cotter impressed in last year’s event leading for a Hamilton side.

After a loss and a win on Monday, Delany  appeared in reasonable touch in beating Russell Haddock (Wanganui) 25-17 yesterday morning.

But in the afternoon, the Delany side ran into a wily side from Tauranga South of Robbie Frelan, dual Dominion fours winner Maurice Hickey, John Simons and 1987 Dominion pairs winner Peter Clark.

Clark is now 82, but still one of the best skips going around. His team, after two wins on Monday, were somewhat smarting, having seen a lead in the morning evaporate as they fell 18-15 to three-winner Ross Henderson (West End).

But the Bay of Plenty team turned things around in the last round of the day, prevailing 30-19 to keep themselves in a solid over-night position. The loss left Delany’s team needing to win their last four matches.

This morning they face Warren Bellringer (New Plymouth), who skips the only side in the section with an unblemished record.

Bellringer’s team received its sternest test to date when it beat Dave Hewitt (Silverstream) 25-16 in the morning and then accounted for Richard Death (Te Awamutu) 27-6 in the later round.

Delany is not alone in the two-win, two-loss record, with a number of other teams predicted to qualify also in the same boat.

Those teams include Adam Wishnoski (New Lynn), Rex Holmes (Paraparaumu Beach), Cary Pinker (Wanganui East) and Steve Hoeft (Pt Chevalier).

The most noted causality is Russell Hardy (Tower), after the 2003 winner dropped his morning game 26-15 to three-winner Trevor Rayner (Tawa).

There are 17 teams that are still to taste defeat in the Taranaki Open fours and some have already indicated that it will take a team of some quality to inflict that first loss.

Among those teams are Brian Little (Palmerston North), Ray Park (Wangannui), Peter Belliss (Aramoho) and Craig Johns (West End).

Little, after beating Colin Salmon (Taradale) 30-16. ended the day with a convincing 25-11 win over a team of predominantly newer bowlers headed by Darren Scott (West End), which until then had posted three strong wins.

Johns opened the day with a 21-10 win over Naenae’s Ross Thorn in a match closer than the score indicated, the greater consistency of the West End side prevailing. Thorn had a further hiccup in the afternoon losing 27-20 to three-winner Ken Greeks (Napier), with Johns defeating Bob Harris (Canterbury) 25-11.

Park saw off the challenge of Paritutu’s Ian Andrews 26-18 and then accounted for Tower’s Jeff Ward 30-9.

Belliss was kept honest for parts of his morning match, seeing off Gary Russek (Omokoroa) 23-13 and then cruised home 28-9 over David Mora (Whangarei).

David Hood (Kerikeri) remained unbeaten, although it was a little tight in the morning when they beat Tony Holdsworth (Central) 20-16.

The last game of the day to finish was between Ian Lowry (Rahotu) and Neil Candy (West End). Both teams headed into the game with three wins and it was the coastal side that came through, winning 26-20.

Johns continues march towards qualification

It was West End’s Craig Johns and his team who ran out comfortable 21-10 victors over Naenae’s Ross Thorn in the feature game of the morning on day two of the Taranaki men’s Open fours. The loss was Thorn’s first for the week, while Johns’ side is now half way to qualifying. Tower’s Russell Hardy lost his third match, this time falling 26-15 to Tawa’s Trevor Rayner, to exit the competition. Rayner now has two wins. There was also more damage in section nine, where after a win and a loss on Monday, both Cary Pinker and Rex Holmes were beaten. Holmes went down 26-23 to George Markie’s Voegltown side, while Pinker was nosed out 22-20 by Dave Selby’s Hillcrest team. Selby has three-straight victories, as does Havelock North’s Ian Mason in what promises to be a tough section to advance from. Incidentally, Holmes and Pinker are due to meet in the first game on Wednesday morning, meaning that one of the two top teams will be eliminated. Two other interesting matches this morning between unbeaten teams saw Kevin Coombe (Aramoho) nudge Kevin Hills (Alton) 20-19, while the 2005 winner Ray Park (Wanganui) defeated Ian Andrews (Paritutu) 26-18.

Hot and humid on opening day of Taranaki Open

Hot, humid conditions greeted bowlers on the first day of the 113th Taranaki men’s Open fours in New Plymouth and surrounding areas on Monday. By the end of the date, as predicted, most of the big guns had emerged unscathed – but there were exceptions, including past Dominion pairs winners Dan Delany (Royal Oak) and Rex Holmes (Paraparaumu Beach), who along with three-time winner Gary Lilley (West End), Cary Pinker (Wanganui East), Mark Anderson (Alton) and Stu Settle (Hinuera) all dropped a match during the day. The plight of the 2003 winner Russell Hardy (Tower) was much worst, his side losing both games and meaning that they must win the remaining six matches to qualify. But there were a host of top teams who didn’t have too many problems, even though by the end of the day, some greens had begin to show signs of burning. Heading that list of visitors were Brian Little (Palmerston North), Barry Wynks (Takaro), Peter Dorreen (Far North RSA), Howard Ivory (Wilton), Ray Park (Wanganui), Peter Clark (Tauranga South) and Peter Belliss (Aramoho). A number of Taranaki teams also got off on the right footing with two wins, including Craig Johns (West End), Ian Andrews (Paritutu), Graham Baxter (Hawera Park) and Fred Hughes (Lepperton). After sneaking home 18-17 against Mervyn Jackman (Wainuiomata), the Lepperton side had the satisfaction of upsetting Holmes, who has made the Open final on three separate occasions, 23-19. Delany fell in his first match 24-20 to Evert Kremer, a two-winner from Paraparaumu Beach. But Delany got back on track in beating Ian Busby (Tower) 25-18 in the afternoon. Lilley dropped his match to Mike Oldfield (Tauranga South) 22-18, while Anderson was ousted 25-22 by Alan Sandercock (Australia). Settle’s loss was no complete surprise, being tipped up 28-24 in the feature game of the morning by Noel Probyn (Fitzroy). Settle rebounded to win in the afternoon, whereas Probyn was defeated by another team with a 50% record, Garry Murfitt (West End). Hardy’s opening loss was to Pihama’s underrated Terry Mullin 23-20 and his hopes took a further dive to Peter Thomson (Paekakariki) 24-23.

Delany beaten in opening round

The demise of four-time winner Dan Delany (Royal Oak) was the main talking point from the opening round of section play in the 113th Taranaki men’s open fours. Delany’s side was beaten 24-20 by Evert Kremer (Paraparaumu Beach). Delany was not alone, with some other leading sides also faltering. Russell Hardy (Tower), the 2003 winner, lost 23-20 by the tough Terry Mullin (Pihama). Cliff Mitchell-Burnard (Te Kuiti), after missing the 2017 event, was beaten 30-13 by Neil Candy (west End), but Candy’s clubmate John Sexton was dispatched 24-17 by Gary McKay (Australia). In the feature game of the morning, Noel Probyn (Fitzroy) got the nod 28-24 over Stu Settle (Hinuera). There were no problems for Brian Little (Palmerston North), Kevin Coombe (Aramoho), Mark Anderson (Alton), Craig Johns (West End), Howard Ivory (Wilton) and Rex Holmes (Paraparaumu Beach). Ross Thorn (Naenae) edged past Manawatu rep Scotty McGavin (Bulls) 27-24. Terry Cullen (Helensville) beat Garry Murfitt (West End) 23-15, while Ian Andrews (Paritutu) overcame a mid-game deficit to beat Bernie Martelletti (Te Puke) 25-20. In a nail-biter, Anton Ferrari (Wilton) pipped Tom Henderson (Paraparaumu Beach) 24-23, the latter side being skipped by Ray Boffa, who yesterday advanced to the final of the Manawatu Open Triples. Peter Belliss (Aramoho) got home 21-14 over a useful Pt Chevalier side skipped by Steve Hoeft, while Peter Thomson (Paekakariki) posted the biggest win of the morning – 43-14 over David Mora (Whangarei).

New Plymouth flooded with bowlers for Taranaki men’s open fours

North Taranaki has been invaded once more by hundreds of bowlers with the annual Taranaki men’s open fours tournament starting on Monday. There are 156 teams, each consisting of four players, from all over New Zealand, with eight also having made the trip across from Australia. That is an improvement of two sides on the previous year in the annual tournament, which is now in its 113th edition. “We are delighted with the response we continue to receive from bowlers from all over the country, plus of course our Australian contingent which has been headed up expertly by Barry Sullivan for a number of years,” Bowls Taranaki chairman Brien Bennett said. “The tournament is very much alive.” All competing sides play two games of 25 ends each day and by the time qualifying finishes on Thursday evening, those combinations that have won six or more games advance to the post section rounds. The final is scheduled for Sunday afternoon. “The unique aspect of the tournament is that it caters for both the competitive and social bowler,” Bennett enthused. While last year’s winner, Ces Bell (Taradale), is not defending the title, the other three place-getters from last time have returned – Dan Delany (Royal Oak), Cary Pinker (Wanganui East) and New Zealand great Peter Belliss (Aramoho). Belliss recently finished second in the pairs at the national tournament in Dunedin. The field includes a host of other prominent visitors who are expected to do well including Brian Little (Palmerston North), Rex Holmes (Paraparaumu Beach), Ray Park (Wanganui) and Stu Settle (Hinuera). Palmerston North veteran Ian Jamieson will mark his 40th tournament by playing as a replacement in a Morrinsville RSA unit headed by stylish competitor Paul Bartosh. There are 75 Taranaki teams in the field, with the most appealing being the quartet skipped by West End’s Craig Johns. Johns’ side includes Jordan Linn, Dave Wilson and Steve Walker. Linn and Walker won the most recently completed Taranaki centre event, the Christmas pairs, beating Wilson and 2017 national singles winner Dean Elgar in the final. Work commitments unfortunately mean that Elgar will not play this week. Garry Murfitt and his West End side won the Inupak Trophy last year as the best-performed Taranaki team in making the quarterfinals. They illustrated in winning the centre fours in November that they should be a force once more. Other locals who could feature are Mark Anderson (Alton), Russell Hardy (Tower), Gary Lilley (West End) and Darren Goodin (Paritutu). The Taranaki women’s open fours follows the men’s event with 54 entries. It commences on January 23.

– Article courtesy of Grant Hassall, Taranaki Daily News, 15/01/18

Linn and Walker upstage clubmates to win Christmas pairs

West End’s Jordan Linn and Steve Walker turned in an excellent display of bowls to claim the Auto City-sponsored Taranaki men’s Christmas pairs at Fitzroy on 23/12/17. It was the fourth centre title for both players, who are in their eighth season respectively, and to achieve the victory, they beat arguably the two strongest pairs not only in their own club, West End, but also the Taranaki centre – defending champions John Roberts and Craig Johns in the semifinals, and Dave Wilson and Dean Elgar in the final. With Linn calling the tune off the front and Walker drawing well, the new champions had the luxury of winning the final without playing the last end, finishing with a 24-17 scoreline. Wilson and Elgar, who commences his Dominion singles defence on Friday, led 5-2 in the final. But a five shortly after gave Linn and Walker the advantage at 9-6. It was an impetuous they would not let go, even if at the two-thirds stage (14 of the scheduled 21 ends) Linn and Walker led by only a narrow three points at 15-12. The next three ends sealed the result, with Linn and Walker taking a three, a four and a brace to open up an unassailable 24-12 lead. Wilson and Elgar responded by taking the next three ends, but it was largely academic by then. In the semifinals, Linn and Walker were equally impressive in beating Roberts and Johns 20-12, while Wilson and Elgar broke free in the second half of their match against Sean Prinsloo and Mark Dudley (Hawera Park), winning 23-14.

Commane and Robinson take women’s pairs

Opunake’s Chris Commane and Bev Robinson have taken out the Taranaki women’s open pairs title for the season. The duo were commanding 24-12 winners over New Plymouth’s Faye Gecse and Maree Gadsby in the final of the Clegg’s Funeral Services-sponsored event at Stratford-Avon recently. It was Robinson’s 12th Taranaki title and a first for Commane to add to one from Wellington. After seven of the 21 ends, Commane and Robinson led 9-5. They then went on a scoring spree with a two, a two, a four, a further two and then a single. That made the score 20-5 after 12 ends, which effectively ended the contest. But Gecse and Gadsby, who were also runner-up in the champion-of-champions pairs two seasons ago, won the next four ends, reducing the score to 20-12 with five ends to play. But Commane and Robinson regained the imitative to prevail. In the semifinals, after leading by one shot, Robinson trailed the jack with on the last end to win 20-18 over New Plymouth’s Val McEldowney and Una Maha, while Gadsby beat Lorraine Crofskey and Loris Ropitini (Inglewood) 24-8.

West End prove too good in Taranaki men’s bowls interclub event

West End have run out comfortable winners of the Taranaki men’s bowls division one interclub event. The West End Blue side has headed home the 10-team field on 42 points, with Paritutu, the champions of the past four seasons, second on 34 and West End White third on 33. West End Blue’s powerful singles and pairs disciplines paved the way on Saturday for their victory at Stratford-Avon. Dean Elgar won his three games, to finish with eight wins from nine rounds, while the Taranaki representative duo of John Roberts and Craig Johns also won all three games. They finished with seven wins overall. John Sexton’s four, weakened on Saturday, concluded with five wins and two draws. Darren Goodin (Paritutu) had the distinction of winning all nine games of singles to be the best performed player in the event. Jordan Linn and Steve Walker (West End White) recorded seven wins and one draw in the pairs, while Wayne Hawkes and Bruce Hall (Vogeltown) had seven wins. The best of the fours combinations was the Alton quartet skipped by Mark Anderson that had six wins and one draw. Tower finished bottom of the ladder and have been relegated to the second division for next season. Their place in the top flight will be taken by Stratford-Avon, who defeated Paritutu 2-1 in the second division final at West End on Saturday. Despite Malcolm Hoskin losing to John Cottam in the singles, John Forde and Paul Digby took the pairs and John Sextus, Colin Jones, Maurie Stieller and Kevin Mischefski won the fours.

❑ Stratford-Avon hosts the Taranaki women’s open pairs this weekend, with the final scheduled for Monday. There are 40 teams in the event, including last year’s champions, Yvonne Hallard and Gale Fache (Vogeltown).

❑ Bowls Taranaki chairman Brien Bennett has announced that in response to the surge in first-year players this season, a Taranaki singles event for the newcomers will be held later in the season. “We are endeavouring to finalise a date, in either March or April. We have been delighted with the way many clubs have embraced the drive for new members, with more than 70 signed up so far this season.”

❑ Alton’s annual two-day classic was won this season by a composite South Taranaki side of Brendan Anderson, Clive Phillips, Mark Kuklinski and Scott Roberts. Alistair Hurley, Bruce Phillips, John Roberts and Mark Anderson were second, with the defending champions Alex McKay, Midge Shaw, Dennis Osborne and Garry Murfitt finishing third. Meanwhile, a large contingent of Taranaki teams competed in the popular Wanganui East women’s classic last week. Paritutu’s Cathy Andrews, Barbara Batley, Margie Davis and Val Keightley took out top prize, with third going to a Hawera Park side headed by Kristin Stampa.

❑ While entry numbers for this season’s Dominion, to be held in Dunedin, have yet to be released, when the draw becomes known there will be plenty of cynics rushing in with the reason why numbers are so small. Last season, the women’s fours was won by a virtual New Zealand side in Tayla Bruce, Kirsten Edwards, Val Smith and Jo Edwards. Among the men’s entries this season is a side comprising Justin Goodwin, Shannon McIlroy, Gary Lawson and Ali Forsyth, all past singles winners. We will be told that stacked composite sides is the reason why the club bowlers don’t attend the nationals anymore. But the majority of those club bowlers in the next breath will go and stack their own teams for club and centre events.

– Article courtesy of Grant Hassall, Taranaki Daily News, 04/12/17

Inglewood claim Taranaki women’s open triples bowls title

Inglewood’s Lorraine Crofskey, Loris Ropitini and Cindy Nicoll won the Taranaki women’s open triples bowls title at Hawera Park on Monday. The trio were too consistent in the final of the Abraham’s Funeral Home-sponsored event, defeating Paritutu’s Marlene McArthur, Marlene Barrowman and Heather Johns 23-15. The Nicoll-skipped side dominated the first half of the game, leading 17-6 after 12 ends. The margin was still comfortable three ends later, with Nicoll up 19-9. However, Johns’ side won the next three ends, reducing the deficit to six shots with three heads remaining. However, it was Inglewood’s day, and a brace on the next gave them some breathing space. Paritutu replied with a two, but it couldn’t find the maximum six on the final end to level the match. The victory was Crofskey’s third Taranaki title, Ropitini’s fourth and Nicoll’s second. In the semifinals, Nicoll overcame Hawera Park’s Ruth Vendt, Pauline Kennedy and Kristin Stampa 19-13, with Johns accounting for Vogeltown’s Val Webster, Yvonne Hallard and Gale Fache 19-12.

❑ West End have grabbed the initiative in the TSB Realty-sponsored men’s division one competition after a successful day on their own greens on Sunday. West End Blue lead the 10-team field with 27 points, three clear of West End White. Defending champions Paritutu share third spot with Inglewood, on 22, while Alton, 21, remain an outside chance with the final three rounds due to be played on Saturday at Stratford-Avon. Dean Elgar, the West End Blue singles player, recorded two further wins, to add to his three triumphs on the opening day. But he was beaten 25-13 by Darren Goodin, who remains the only player to have won all six games. After a forgettable first day, John Roberts and Craig Johns gave West End Blue three wins in the pairs, while John Sexton’s four had one win and one draw. West End white progressed into second place after Dave Wilson won all three on Sunday, Jordan Linn and Steve Walker added two more victories to their three from the opening day, and Gary Murfitt’s quartet also won twice. Inglewood, the leader from the first day, faulted winning only three from nine, two of those coming in the singles from Gerry O’Sullivan.

– Article courtesy of Grant Hassall, Taranaki Daily News, 27/11/17

Paritutu come from behind to win Taranaki women’s bowls division one interclub title

Paritutu have come from behind to win the Taranaki women’s bowls division one interclub title. After Ōpūnake had led the field into the final two rounds on Sunday, Paritutu levelled after winning five games from six and took the overall honours on differential. Both clubs finished the Vospers-sponsored event on 26 points, but from the seven rounds, Paritutu accumulated 31 net shots compared to Ōpūnake’s 12. A change in the player order worked a treat for Paritutu, which has twice previously won the New Zealand title, in 2005 and 2016. Cathy Andrews moved to the singles, winning both her games, as did the mother-and-daughter pair of Barbara Batley and Bridget Fletcher. Heather Johns’ four of Berys Norgate, Val Keightley and Gloria Shaw ended the event with six wins, as did Ōpūnake singles player Chris Commane. Meanwhile, West End took out the second division, finishing with 34 points, three clear of second-placed Fitzroy. With the victory, West End will be promoted into division one next season.

❑ Inglewood were the surprise leaders after the first three rounds were completed in the TSB Realty-sponsored men’s division one interclub for the Bill Smee Trophy at Vogeltown on Sunday. They have 16 points after winning eight matches from nine, while West End Blue (14) and Paritutu (12) round out the top three in the 10-team competition. Brothers Gerry and Danny O’Sullivan and Eric Foreman all picked up three wins for the leaders, with the singles and pairs duties split between the trio. World champion-of-champions runner-up Dean Elgar posted three wins for West End Blue, as did its four of Norm Broughton, Bruce Lilley, John Garrud and John Sexton. Paritutu, the champion of the past four years, continued to get great service from Darren Goodin in the singles, after he posted three wins.

❑ Tuesday is the second day’s play in the 54th Bacardi Cup men’s fours event at Fitzroy, with the finals scheduled to be held early on Wednesday afternoon. The tournament requires at least two members per side to have had a specific involvement in the hospitality sector and has drawn 28 teams from all over New Zealand. Included in the field is the Taieri terror, Charlie Burrell, who has remarkably played in all 53 prior tournaments, and Francis Monopoli (Nelson) who skipped the winning team 12 months ago. Four past New Zealand representatives – Ken Walker, Richard Collett, Glenn McDonald and Neville Hill – are also taking part along with another noted sporting identity, Alex Wyllie.

– Article courtesy of Grant Hassall, Taranaki Daily News, 20/11/17

Taranaki bowls team finds success in Wanganui

Wanganui proved a happy hunting ground for the Taranaki representative bowls teams on Saturday, with the province winning three of the four divisions in the quadrangular fixture. The senior Taranaki men won, as did the academy sides in both the men’s and women’s sections. Wanganui won the senior women’s event, with Taranaki third. In the senior men’s event, Revital Fertilisers Taranaki secured 20 points, being 10 wins from 15 games. Manawatu (18) were second, followed by Wanganui (14) and Wairarapa (8). The outstanding individual effort came from the experienced pair of John Roberts and Craig Johns. They beat Paul Manning, the 1995 Dominion pairs finalist, and Wairarapa’s finest, Ian Monaghan, 17-12, first up. Roberts and Johns then accounted for Scotty McGavin and Pat Horgan (Manawatu) 19-12 and Alan Dickson and Ray Park (Wanganui) 19-14. Darren Goodin had two wins in the singles, beating Shane Rogers (Manawatu) and Cary Pinker (Wanganui) but falling to Scott McKenzie (Wairarapa). The new fours combination of John Garrud, Steve Walker, Gerry O’Sullivan and Mark Anderson also won twice, as did the second pair of Jordan Linn and Scott Roberts. Ian Lowry had one win in the second singles. “It was one of the best all-round performances I’ve seen from a team,” selector Alex McKay concluded of the triumph on the slick Aramoho greens. The blustery conditions didn’t suit the senior women as well, with the head-and-tail wind knocking consistency. Wanganui (20) headed off Manawatu (16), Taranaki (15), which represented a 50% return, and Wairarapa (9). Chris Commane continued her excellent form combining with Val McEldowney to score a trifecta of wins in the second pairs. The four of Anne Duggan, Faye Gecse, Maree Gadsby and skip Gale Fache had one win and one draw, while the other three disciplines all had one win and two losses – singles players Rhonda Adams and Cathy Andrews and the first pair of Gloria Shaw and Kristin Stampa. The men’s academy side put on a fine performance, winning six and drawing two of its nine games, giving it 14 points. Wanganui was closest of the rest on 12. Kelly Hill was dominant in the singles, winning 25-6, 25-8 and 25-15, while the four of Brendan Anderson, Paddy Deegan, Robbie Brown and Danny O’Sullivan had two wins and one draw. Steve Sabine and Vini Purcell had one win and one draw in the pairs. Differential gave Taranaki the edge in the women’s academy section, after it and Manawatu were both locked on 10 points. Faye Hill, Jill Dyett, Leeanne Halls and Sharlene Healey were the pick of the Taranaki side, posting three wins. Bridget Fletcher and Susan Cottam won their first two before the former was swapped to the singles in the last round.

– Article courtesy of Grant Hassall, Taranaki Daily News, 19/11/17

Ōpūnake take two-point lead in Taranaki women’s interclub bowls

The Taranaki women’s division one interclub title remains wide open after five rounds were completed over the weekend. Ōpūnake lead the way having recorded 10 victories from 15 games which has them on 20 points – two clear of defending champions Tower. Paritutu Green and New Plymouth, who are both on 16, are both still very much in contention. The final two rounds will be played this Sunday at Stratford-Avon. Open singles runner-up Chris Commane and the pair of Nell L’Ami and the evergreen Joy Collins laid the foundation for Ōpūnake’s advantage, with both combinations finishing with four wins from five games. Tower’s best contribution came from its pair of Betty Fraser and Faye Hopkins which had four wins. Heather Johns’ Paritutu quartet of Berys Norgate, Val Keightley and Gloria Shaw were the only combination to record five-straight wins from the weekend. The other notable effort came from the Lepperton four of Carol Pearce, Jean Haggerty, June Ward and Ellie Goble. They had four wins. In the second division, West End holds a slender lead over Fitzroy ahead of the final two rounds at Tower this Sunday.

❑ The men’s interclub competition commences this Sunday. Paritutu are gunning for a fifth successive victory in the first division for the Bill Smee Trophy, but will expect strong opposition from two good West End sides, desperate to correct a seven-year hiatus, while Alton should also be competitive. The first division is at Hawera Park, with the second division at West End (amber) and Fitzroy (black), and the third division at Paritutu.

– Article courtesy of Grant Hassall, Taranaki Daily News, 14/11/17

Taranaki bowls team named

The Taranaki representative bowls sides to compete in Wanganui next Saturday have been released and both are impressive lineups. Joy Clouston’s women’s side sees Rhonda Adams and Cathy Andrews playing the singles, with Gloria Shaw and Kristin Stampa combining in one pair. Chris Commane and Val McEldowney are the second pair. The four is Anne Duggan, Faye Gecse, Maree Gadsby and skip Gale Fache. Like the men, the women will compete against Wanganui, Manawatu and Wairarapa. The academy team includes Sue Winter (singles), Bridget Fletcher and Susan Cottam (pairs), and Faye Hill, Jill Dyett, Leeanne Halls and Sharlene Healey (fours). The notable feature of the Revital Fertilisers men’s side is the absence of Dean Elgar. He declared his unavailability for this fixture prior to heading to Australia, where he performed with great distinction in making the world final. The two singles berths this time go to Darren Goodin and Ian Lowry. In a predictable squad, John Roberts and Craig Johns reunite in one pair, with youngsters Jordan Linn and Scott Roberts the other. The four comprises John Garrud, Steve Walker, Gerry O’Sullivan and skip Mark Anderson. The men’s academy side sees Kelly Hill (singles), Steve Sabine and Vini Purcell (pairs), and Brendan Anderson, Paddy Deegan, Robbie Brown and Danny O’Sullivan (fours).

* The Vospers-sponsored women’s interclub competition gets underway this weekend. The division one section plays at Tower on Saturday and Paritutu on Sunday, with the division two at Stratford-Avon on Saturday and West End on Sunday. Last year’s division one champions, Hawera, of course this time will play under the Tower banner.
Paritutu, last season’s division two winners, have two sides in the top flight.

* Barry Agnew’s sudden death on Thursday morning has denied the province of one of the biggest stalwarts of the game, an innovative thinker and one of it’s finest ever greenkeepers. Agnew actually started his bowls at Pihama, just over 40 years ago, but it was at Okato where he made his name. He was instrumental in making the Okato green regularly the best in Taranaki, and that expertise was widely used by many other clubs to their advantage. Agnew served on the Taranaki executive and was mindful of the need for change. The relatively new pennants competition was one such change he played a key role in. Agnew was also a very able player. At his peak, his forehand drive was without peer, he represented the province and also won a centre title in both Taranaki and Gisborne-East Coast.

– Article courtesy of Grant Hassall, Taranaki Daily News, 09/11/17

Elgar’s world bowls bid comes up short

Dean Elgar’s brave bid to become the world bowls champion has come up short – but only after a superb effort in making it to the final. Elgar, of New Plymouth’s West End club, turned on an outstanding display on Friday and Saturday to make the final of the world champion-of-champions singles at the St Johns Park, New South Wales. But Sunday’s final, against Australia’s Aaron Teys, was a step too far for Elgar, with Teys dominating the match to win 12-1, 8-4. “It was disappointing to go like that,” Elgar said shortly after the final. “Overall, I’ve played very well, but today I just couldn’t pick it. We had a lot of overnight rain and I thought it would have been heavier, but I kept going through the head.” After dropping a three but gaining a single from the first two ends, of nine scheduled, in the opening set, Elgar was in touch. But Teys then applied the pressure drawing consistently well and moving the jack around when Elgar held shots to win the remaining ends in the set. Elgar started the second set better, scoring a brace. But Teys won the next four ends with seven points to lead 7-2. Elgar pulled a single back and held a further shot on the seventh end but turned Teys bowl in for shot, which ended his chase. “If you had said to me two days ago ‘here is a silver medal’ I would have taken it,” Elgar said. “I had to play like yesterday but it wasn’t to be.” To make the final, Elgar won six-straight games. In section play on Thursday, he had a win, a loss and a win. That meant he needed three wins from as many games on Friday to make the top three of his pool. He did that with some class, including the scalp of the David Kingdom (Wales), who finished top of the pool and lost in the semifinals to Teys. That put Elgar into the last six. In the preliminary final on Saturday morning, Elgar beat Barry Kane (Ireland) 7-4, 7-7. He then accounted for Scotland’s Derek Oliver 10-5, 10-7 in an excellent display in the semifinals. Elgar’s invitation to the world event followed his victory in the New Zealand singles, which was held in New Plymouth in January.

– Article courtesy of Grant Hassall, Taranaki Daily News, 05/11/17

Murfitt survives late fightback to win open fours

Garry Murfitt’s quartet was able to withhold a late fightback from Jocky Bright’s side to claim the Taranaki men’s centre fours title in an all-West End final at Hawera Park on Saturday. Murfitt and his team won the final of the South Taranaki Club-sponsored event 17-16 after a titanic struggle. The first third of the 18-end game was relatively even, with Murfitt ahead 8-6 after six ends. But the Murfitt side of Steve Temperton, Alex McKay and Dennis Osborne dominated the middle of the match. With Temperton, a third year player who has just transferred from Hawera Park, leading well, Murfitt opened up a commanding 17-8 lead. But Bright and his team of Tony Penn, Jim Rowe and Bryce Koch fought to the end, winning the remaining six heads but it wasn’t quite enough. Murfitt led by two shots playing the last end. Temperton was handy, giving Murfitt the early advantage until Koch drew the shot. However, the necessary second shot didn’t come, giving Temperton his first Taranaki title, McKay and Murfitt their second each and Osborne his sixth. Murfitt was incredibly lucky to make the final, beating a Hawera Park four entered under Grant Mudgway and skipped by Kearin Pollard 20-19. Pollard led 19-10 with two ends remaining, before Murfitt took a five and a four to tie up the game. The West Enders completed the remarkable turnaround by winning the extra end. In the other semifinal, Bright’s team cruised home 20-7 over Rangi Hiroti, in what was the second-straight semifinal appearance for the Inglewood side.

– Article courtesy of Grant Hassall, Taranaki Daily News, 05/11/17

Cathy Andrews claims fifth Taranaki women’s singles bowls title

Paritutu’s Cathy Andrews has scored an unprecedented fifth victory in nine years in the Taranaki women’s open singles bowls event. Andrews, a former New Zealand representative, has now won 11 Taranaki titles and based on Sunday’s triumph, she still has plenty more shots left in her. In the final Andrews beat Opunake’s Chris Commane 21-12. While Commane opened with a brace in the final, a four to Andrews on the fourth end set the tone for the match. Commane scored on 10 of the 19 ends, but only two of the counts were more than one. Andrews, on the other hand, made the most of her opportunities, collecting two threes and a further four, as she opened up a 16-7 lead. It was too great a deficit for Commane to pull back. It had been a long day for Commane, with some drawn-out games meaning the final did not start until 5pm. In her semifinal against West End’s Susan Cottam, Commane prevailed 21-17. In the other semifinal, Andrews beat Fitzroy’s Rhonda Adams 21-14.

❑ Despite losing a round on Sunday, the men’s centre fours was still expected to be finalised this Saturday at Hawera Park. Only two rounds of post-section were completed after heavy rain in the middle of the day delayed play for two hours. By that point, a number of the leading skips had been eliminated. Grant Mudgway’s Hawera Park squad, which was skipped by Kearin Pollard on Sunday, are the only side through to the semifinals at this stage. They beat Mark Dudley’s Hawera Park team, which was entered under the name of Allan Hunt, 20-5 in the quarterfinals. The only other quarterfinal that has commenced is between two West End sides, Garry Murfitt and Ross Henderson, with the former leading 4-1 after four of the 18 ends. On the other side of the draw, the four quarterfinalists are Rodney Woods (Opunake), Rangi Hiroti (Inglewood), Jocky Bright (West End) and Kevin Hills (Alton). The latter’s side is skipped by Grant Anderson.

– Article courtesy of Grant Hassall, Taranaki Daily News, 30/10/17

Dean Elgar claims back-to-back Taranaki men’s singles bowls titles

West End’s Dean Elgar successfully defended his Taranaki men’s bowls singles title on his home green on Monday in a perfect dress rehearsal for the world champion-of-champions event next week. Elgar leaves for Sydney on Friday, with the world event commencing Monday October 30, and should he exhibit the same form he did over the long weekend, he has every chance of going deep into the competition. Elgar’s excellence as a singles player was clearly evident in the final as he ran out a comfortable 21-10 victor over John Roberts, who was representing Alton. In winning the first four ends, Elgar opened up a 6-0 lead, and while Roberts closed 8-6 behind, that was as good as it got for him. “I’m no singles player,” Roberts said afterwards. “I need others to carry me.” Elgar dominated the next four ends clinching 10 points to make it 18-6. Roberts hung in for a while, but Elgar was too good. “I’d love to take this green over to Sydney with me,” Elgar said. It was his fifth win in the tournament and his 11th Taranaki title in total. Both finalists came from behind in two quality semifinals. Elgar trailed Paritutu’s Darren Goodin 18-13 before a four brought him back into contention. At 20-all, Goodin drew right behind jack with his first bowl, before Elgar, after getting a slide, sat it through. Goodin in turn killed the end and, on the replay, Elgar lodged a front toucher to advance. Roberts was 19-14 down to West End’s Dave Wilson. But he sat through Wilson’s shot bowl for a full house and backed that up with a brace and a single to win 21-19.

– Article courtesy of Grant Hassall, Taranaki Daily News, 23/10/17

Bowls Taranaki hoping to attract new bowlers to the sport this season

Bowls Taranaki has started the new season by setting a goal of attracting 100 first year players for the new season. Chairman Brien Bennett QSM said it was a tough target to achieve, but that the centre and clubs had the resources to reach triple figures. “Last year we had 38 new bowlers. But we are determined to align more closely with the clubs to ensure our sport has a brighter future,” he said. “That has already started and this push is the first of what will become a number of initiatives or changes introduced by the Towards 2020 committee.” The Towards 2020 committee is largely made up of existing board members who have been tasked with ensuring bowls in Taranaki is in the correct shape by the year 2020. “It is an exciting time for the sport. I only wish I was 40 years younger.”

❑ Taranaki finished second and fourth respectively in the men’s and women’s sections of the central region junior representative hexagonal bowls fixture in Wanganui on 01/10/17. The men, with 21 points out of a possible 40, finished second to Wellington, who won with an emphatic 32. Bruce Lilley, Adyne Jack and Steve Muller were the best of the Taranaki players, each winning four games from five. The women, with 20 points, finished fourth as Hawke’s Bay claimed the title with 28 points. Jill Dyett, Hazel Schwartfeger, Lesley Te Awa, Gina McKenzie and Frances Busby all won three matches from five.

❑ Dean Elgar has started the new season in fine style by recently claiming the prestigious Paraparaumu Beach invitation pairs with Manawatu’s Craig Gush. They nosed out Maurice Symes, formerly of Hawera Park and now of Blenheim, and Simon Hitchcock 15-14 in the final. Following last season’s successes, Elgar steps up onto the international stage at the end of the month competing in the world champion-of-champions at the St Johns club in Sydney. He will play a gruelling 14 section matches, the first against English champion Simon Green, between October 30 and November 3, before the playoff matches follow. Elgar must make the top three in his pool of 15 to face off against the best three in the other group. The world event stated in 2003 and five New Zealanders – Ali Forsyth, Tony Grantham, Jan Khan, Jo Edwards and Sandra Keith – are past winners. Auckland’s Selina Goddard is one of 24 competitors in the women’s section this year.

– Article courtesy of Grant Hassall, Taranaki Daily News, 04/10/17

The Vic Blance School of Excellence held its first day for the latest inductees at Paritutu recently with a wide cross-section of players in attendance, all of whom have been identified as having the potential of playing at representative level. Among the presenters were sports physiologist Rachel Vaughan, Guy Honnor (Sport Taranaki) and former NZ coach John Murtagh. The next session will take place on November 15. Vic Blance School of Excellence for players for 2017/18: Steve Sabine, Robbie Brown, Danny O’Sullivan (Inglewood); Adam Collins, Steve Muller, Bob Anderson, Kurt Smith (Oakura); Adyne Jack, Steve Temperton, Trevor Simpson, Sue Winter, Susan Cottam, Jill Dyett (West End); Ryan Vincent, Bridget Fletcher, Gina McKenzie (Paritutu); Paddy Deegan (Opunake); Laurence Hori, Tobyn Hori (New Plymouth); Brendan Anderson (Alton); Hazel Schwartfeger (Hawera); Cheryl Sharrock, Anne Potaka (Lepperton); Leslie TeAwa (Fitzroy); Bari Oliver (Stratford-Avon).