The powerhouse Alexandra side have put a stop to Kia Toa’s promising run in the National Bowls3Five Interclub, defeating the South Canterbury champions in a clean sweep performance to advance to the final four.
Hosted at the Awamoa Bowling Club in Oamaru on Tuesday afternoon, both Alexandra and Kia Toa made the trip to contest the eagerly awaited quarter-final, or in some cases, what many had referred to as the final of the South Island – albeit with Blenheim still to play Takaro.
Previous games had seen Kia Toa dispatch North Otago’s Phoenix Club before taking out Canterbury frontrunners Lincoln, while Alexandra’s line-up had only been required to front for one fixture opposite Dunedin champions, Taieri – courtesy of no entries from the South Otago or Southland regions.
Across the green, former and current provincial representatives stood out as the skippers with Alexandra pushing Pat Houlahan, Trevor Drake and Bill Clements forward, taking on Kia Toa’s Jim Vevers, Leo Leonard and Richard Kerr.
The experience in the middle of the combinations for Alexandra appeared to prove the difference with Marty Geary and Linley O’Callaghan bolstering the power throughout the side, while Kia Toa’s Sharon Leonard and development bowlers John Donaldson and Travis Cook lined-up for the boys and girls in red.
The first match-up saw Vevers go toe-to-toe with Houlahan, with a drawn first set providing plenty of action heading in to the final end of the second set. With the scores locked at 4-4, Houlahan was left grimacing as his two bowls missed the opportunity to seize a clear-cut win, leaving Vevers to once again step up and draw within a metre to take the first fixture.
However, a slick green saw Vevers’ bowl run through, gifting Alexandra the first spoils by a matter of millimetres.
With spirits high, Kerr’s side of Leonard and Danny Johnston had done well to bounce back from a heavy first set defeat to force a one-end tie breaker opposite Clements, following an impressive second set win.
With Clements’ side nearest the jack, Kerr’s two efforts narrowly missed, rounding out the two required victories for Alexandra to join the road to the final four later this month.
The final game, which at this point had no major effect on the overall result, saw Drake pip Leonard’s side in straight sets, with Drake’s conversion shots proving too difficult to overcome on the day.
Alexandra will now join North Harbour’s Riverhead and Waikato’s Hinuera in the final four, with the winner of Blenheim vs Takaro yet to be determined.
The playoffs will take place at the Naenae Bowling Club, Lower Hutt on April 28.
National Bowls3Five Interclub Quarter-final (Alexandra vs Kia Toa)
Alexandra d Kia Toa; 3-0
Alexandra team line-up
Pat Houlahan, Ron Hamill, Yvonne McCutcheon
Trevor Drake, Marty Geary, Lyn Somerville
Bill Clements, Linley O’Callaghan, Ray Leeden