South Canterbury pairing Barrie Andrews and Shayne Chisnall started their season on a high over the weekend, taking out the Rusty Mac Memorial Pairs in a hard-fought final.
Hosted by the Awamoa Bowling Club in Oamaru, the invitational event, now in its second year, attracts bowlers from all pockets of the South Island – including a crowd favourite in the form of 13-year-old Cooper Stumbles of Dunedin.
Launched last year to remember the late Russell McDonald, the event is filled with players that have formerly rubbed shoulders with him, be that in his team or those that have been on the receiving end of his famous left-hand chute.
The tournament, which is endorsed on the Bowls New Zealand Summer of Bowls calendar, got underway on Saturday with eight sections of four, with the top two from each section emerging to the last 16. Following some gripping games of post-section, the finalists were found on Sunday with Andrews and Chisnall going up against pre-tournament favourites Shaun Scott and Sean O’Neill – both former New Zealand representatives.
With eighteen ends separating the two sides from the silverware, the game remained even for large parts of the first half, though with a commanding display of lead bowls from Chisnall, the South Canterbury combination edged ahead in the latter stages to see the game out 15-11.
Beaten semi-finalists were Rodney Greaney and Ian Rule and Halswell pairing Paul Matheson and Phil Austin.
Reflecting on the weekend, tournament organiser Craig McDonald said the weekend was a fantastic highlight for the club and a fitting way to remember one of their greats.
He thanked all the sponsors, players, club volunteers and spectators for turning out in force and making the event a “special occasion” for all.
“It’s pretty special to see all of these top level players turning out at the start of the season and playing in honour of Dad. Our family are so proud of what this event has become and we honestly can’t thank everyone that’s made this happen enough.
“Over the weekend, there was some great stories and laughs on and off the green, and the tournament was played in fantastic spirit . . . we can’t wait to see everyone back again next year.”
For those that missed the action or want to relive the closing stages of the event, head over to the Awamoa Bowling Club Facebook page and check out the live-stream footage.
The Rusty Mac Memorial Pairs will return next September.
RESULTS AT A GLANCE
2021 RUSTY MAC MEMORIAL PAIRS OAMARU, NORTH OTAGO
Barrie Andrews, Shayne Chisnall d Shaun Scott, Sean O’Neill
Sam Morton, Tom Taiaroa d Paddy Stewart, Kerry Becks
Adrian Robins, Trevor Robertson (4 wins)