It was a home club celebration for John Carruthers, teaming up with St Helier’s Bill Whitburn to take out the silverware at the 2019 Clif Shanks Memorial 2-4-2 Pairs over the Labour Weekend.
Hosted by the Royal Oak Bowling Club, the Auckland-based event is now in its 20th year and attracts a fiercely talented line-up, both locally and from further afield, with eight sections of four starting the event on day one and the winning pair crowned on Labour Monday.
Endorsed as an official Summer of Bowls event, the event, first launched by club stalwart Grant Goodwin, has grown in reputation and this year received live stream coverage of the final on Facebook.
With the weather playing its part during the first two days, the top sixteen teams were revealed, with some top combinations winning through to a further round of post-section, round-robin play.
Among the top four combinations, competing in the semi-finals for the main event, Auckland composite Graham Growcott (Blockhouse Bay) and Nick Thompson (Pt Chevalier) defeated Pt Chevalier duo Kevin Morris and Graham Edwards, while Pt Chevalier Pirates skipper Aiden Takarua and Glen Eden’s Jeremy Brosnan fell short to Carruthers and Whitburn – Takarua also finishing runner-up in this event last year with reigning national singles champion Taylor Horn.
The final saw Carruthers and Whitburn race out of the blocks to a comfortable lead of 6-0, a margin the composite pairing never relinquished, running away with this year’s spoils in emphatic fashion, 20-6.
Commenting after the final, Carruthers pointed out the swirling conditions made it tough to achieve consistency, but was full of praise for Whitburn – who had filled in as a short-notice replacement.
“It really was particularly difficult with the wind and took a while to adjust. Bill and I managed to scrape through, but it was tricky,” Carruthers said.
“Bill was a replacement and a very good one at that . . . it’s not easy to find someone willing to jump in at the last minute and play a full three-day tournament.”
Meanwhile, other results saw Royal Oak’s home pairing of Sam Toloke and Rima Strickland take out the Plate, while fellow clubmates Danny Delany and Joe Whitelaw proved too strong in the Flight Event, taking top spot overall.
In other results, the formidable Onehunga Districts pairing of Neville Hill and Mike Bradshaw took out the Shoot Out event, rounding out a superb run of results over the long weekend at Royal Oak.
Royal Oak wish to extend their thanks and gratitude to event sponsors, North West Flooring Xtra, Metlifecare, Ashcroft Homes, The Trusts and Westpoint Earthmoving Ltd.
Results at a Glance
2019 Clif Shanks Memorial 2-4-2 Pairs, Auckland
John Curruthers, Bill Whitburn (Royal Oak/St Helier’s)
Sam Toloke, Rima Strickland (Royal Oak)
Danny Delany, Joe Whitelaw (Royal Oak)
Neville Hill, Mike Bradshaw (Onehunga Districts)
by Sam Morton