Against all odds, the Birkenhead Premier Men’s and Women’s Pairs champions were found for 2022, with organisers breathing a sigh of relief following the final bowl.
Earlier in the month, the Carpet Mill $6,000 Men’s Pairs was carried out and the event was a success. So it’s no surprise that not even ex-Cyclone Dovi or a high rise in Omicron cases could put a stop to The Good Home Women’s Pairs action last weekend, with the two-day event proceeding in extremely challenging conditions.
As torrential weather bore down on large spread areas of the country, particularly parts of the North Island, Birkenhead remained in a world of their own – somehow progressing through the competition and stubbornly unwilling to add to the already long tail of COVID-19 cancellations.
Though with the class line-up on display, it was clearly going to take something quite extraordinary to cancel play on either weekend, with players keen to chase the coveted silverware and lucrative winners’ cheques on offer.
The men’s action saw Counties Manukau pairing David Clark and Roger Andrews defeat Nigel Drew and Mark Rumble in the grand finale, with last year’s winners Alex Reed and Aiden Takarua and Carlton Cornwall duo Leif Selby and James Williams finishing third equal.
The Champions Cup A Flight was won by former Blackjack Jamie Hill and Mark Burgess, with Brent Malcolm and Greg Taylor finishing runners-up.
In other results, national fours’ champions Steve Beel and John Gray combined to take out the Champions Cup B Flight, Daymon Pierson and Jimmy Heath secured the Consolation honours and Jeremy Brosnan and Jerry Belcher concluded the competition, wrapping up the Consolation Flight.
Meanwhile, despite atrocious weather conditions and two cancelled rounds, former New Zealand representative Wendy Jensen and Trish Hardy proved triumphant in the women’s field, defeating Lisa Dickson and Judy Smith, 18-6.
Beaten semi-finalists were Jenny Stockford and Jo McKenna and Diane Strawbridge and Dawn Owens.
Across rinks, Central Otago duo Margaret O’Connor and Christine Buchanan proved too strong for Gaye Horne and Colleen Rice in the Cup A Flight, while Skye Renes and Keiko Kurohara took out the Cup B Flight opposite Catherine Bien and Ling Qu,
Unfortunately, the news hasn’t been so promising for those set to play in the 48th Aotearoa National Bowls Tournament due to be held in Hastings, with organisers making the decision to cancel this year’s event in liue of the Red traffic light setting and increasing Omicron figures.
The event will return to Christchurch in 2023.