Hawkes Bay pairing Tony Terry and Mike Isaacson have combined to take out the inaugural National Champion of Champion Men’s Pairs title, while Bay of Plenty duo Wendy Green and Lynette McIntosh displayed exceptional form to take out the women’s honours.
Hosted at the Westpac Dunedin Lawn Bowls Stadium, provincial champions from around the country took to the blue carpeted rinks in a bid to claim national status.
The national showcase marks the completion of the three-staged competition that first starts at the respective club championships, before centre champions then advancing on to show their wares against the best in the country for the 2018/19 season.
The men’s action saw New Zealand Talent Development Squad members Sheldon Bagrie-Howley and Caleb Hope continue their dominance among the country’s top echelon, though cruelly had their title bid slashed following a fortuitous deflection from Alexandra’s Pat Houlahan and Roger O’Brien in a final bowl thriller.
Leading by one shot on the scoreboard and sitting with match, the Gore duo seemingly had proceedings under control, however a last gasp run shot from Houlahan saw his bowl ricochet off a short bowl, collect the jack through to the ditch, pick up two shots and advance to the final – leaving the southerner’s deflated and wondering what might have been.
The other semi-final saw Terry and Isaacson, representing the Hastings’ club, dispatch Northland father and son hopefuls David and Daniel Hood, emerging with a comfortable win 20-14.
Continuing their winning ways, the Hasting’s pairing were in fine form as they romped through to the silverware, defeating Houlahan and O’Brien, 20-12 and rounding out a successful campaign for Hawke’s Bay.
Beaten quarter-finalists included Canterbury’s Stephen Ditfort (Ian Rule), Dunedin’s Jonty Horwell (Callum Horwell), Taupo’s Dave Jones (Mike Woolridge) and Buller representatives Chris Bullock (Ross James).
Meanwhile, the women’s action saw a commanding campaign from Te Rangi’s Sarah Scott and Bronwyn Stevens, who have both featured in the women’s national pairs’ semi-finals on two previous occasions, – losing only one game all weekend.
Painfully for the New Zealand combined high performance/talent development squad pairing, that loss happened to be the final, with Taupo’s Green and McIntosh, who themselves only lost one game in section play, proving too strong on the day for the Southland hopefuls, 18-12.
The semi-finals saw Scott and Stevens account for the experienced Masterton duo of Fiona Mancer and Tina Hogg, 24-9, while Green and McIntosh wasted little time opposite local hopes Carolyn Crawford and Sharon McCaw, securing a 19-11 margin.
Beaten quarter-finalists included North Otago’s Aileen Blyth (Barbara Allan), Kahutia’s Marie Wright (Dayvinia Mills), Auckland’s Catherine Bien and Ling Qu and South Canterbury’s Mata Frankum (Julie Robins).
The National Champion of Champions action will continue next week, as the provincial women’s fours champions head to the Waikato to put their best foot forward at the Frankton Railway Bowling Club (July 19-21).
The final weekend of the month will see the series draw to a close, as the country’s respective men’s fours champions descend on Hawke’s Bay to contest the silverware at the Bowls Hastings’ complex (July 26-28).
Results at a Glance
Bowls NZ National Champion of Champions Men’s & Women’s Pairs, Dunedin
Terry, Isaacson d Houlahan, O’Brien; 20-12
Houlahan, O’Brien d Bagrie Howley, Hope; 17-16
Terry, Isaacson d Hood, Hood; 20-14
Pat Houlahan, Roger O’Brien (Alexandra, Central Otago) d Stephen Ditfort, Ian Rule (Elmwood Park, Canterbury); 27-4
Sheldon Bagrie-Howley, Caleb Hope (Gore, Southland) d Jonty Horwell, Callum Horwell (Kaikorai, Dunedin); 19-1
David Hood, Daniel Hood (Whangarei, Northland) d Dave Jones, Mike Woolridge (Taupo, Bay of Plenty); 18-16
Tony Terry, Mike Isaacson (Hastings, Hawkes Bay) d Chris Bullock, Ross James (Westport, Buller); 19-17
Green, McIntosh d Scott, Stevens; 18-12
Green, McIntosh d Crawford, McCaw; 19-11
Scott, Stevens d Mancer, Hogg; 24-9
Carolyn Crawford, Sharon McCaw (St Clair, Dunedin) d Aileen Blyth, Barbara Allan (Meadowbank, North Otago); 18-14
Wendy Green, Lynette McIntosh (Taupo, Bay of Plenty) d Marie Wight, Dayvinia Mills (Kahutia, Gisborne East Coast);
Sarah Scott, Bronwyn Stevens (Te Rangi, Southland) d Catherine Bien, Ling Qu (St Helier’s, Auckland); 20-8
Fiona Mancer, Tina Hogg (Masterton, Wairarapa) d Mata Frankum, Julie Robins (Waimate, South Canterbury); 22-8