In a small pocket of the country better known for its Hobbiton attractions and scenic Kamai Ranges, the Hinuera Bowling Club in Matamata is fast forging a national reputation as a powerhouse club, posting regular results on the big stage and home to multiple past, present and likely future champions of the game.
First it was Debbie White’s fairytale win in the National Women’s Singles, secondly, a lad by the name of Tamati Sydney, on his 15th birthday, skipped his schoolmates to the National Secondary School’s Triples crown with his final bowl deciding the result and now, the club find themselves pushing full steam ahead in the National Bowls3Five competition – playing their way into the quarter-finals berth following a thrilling win opposite the Bay of Plenty representatives, Ngongotaha.
Team manager Kevin Smith said he was delighted at the progress of the club, pointing out Bowls Hinuera was in high spirits with this season’s successes, that “isn’t over yet”.
“We’ve actually played a fair bit of the Bowls3Five format within our own club where we can play for an hour, enjoy a few drinks for an hour and it’s great for the overall club atmosphere and bar takings,” he said.
“We’ve had some brilliant games and even looking across the green at the halfway point, it looked like they (Ngongotaha) were going to get over the line, but the short format throws up all sorts of twists and turns and in the end all the games went through to tie-break ends . . . it was a nerve wracking way to finish the round.”
Hinuera’s journey, like all other centres, started with the club taking out the local competition, but with no other centres in their area, found themselves in a head to head match-up with the Bay of Plenty representatives, who also advanced at the virtue of no entry from Gisborne East Coast.
The Hinuera side features Stu Settle, Bev Corbett, Paul Casey Jr, Smith, Bruce Milne, White, Gerrard Slattery, Gaylene Harvey and John Kanawa.
Reflecting on his team’s chances as the quarter-final looms against Aramoho, Smith was optimistic, but knew they were heading for a tough assignment opposite the men and women in sky blue.
“(Hey look), we’re competitive, but it’s all about on the day, at the time and with the short games, you need a little bit of luck at times . . . anything really is possible. We have a lot of respect for Aramoho and I know they have a lot of respect for us – we’ve certainly known each other for quite some time and I’m sure it will be a great match-up,” Smith said.
The quarter-final clash, although has yet to be confirmed, is likely to be played on Sunday, April 7 at Paritutu Bowling Club, New Plymouth.
The winner will find themselves travelling to Naenae Bowling Club to compete for the ultimate prize in joining the popular Bowls3Five televised league next season.
Results at a Glance
National Bowls3Five, Last 16 – Hinuera (Waikato) vs Ngongotaha (Bay of Plenty)
Hinuera d Ngongotaha; 2-0
Hinuera team line-up
Stu Settle, Bev Corbett, Paul Casey Jr
Kevin Smith, Bruce Milne, Debbie White
Gerrard Slattery, Gaylene Harvey, John Kanawa