The Manurewa Cosmopolitan pairing of David Clark and Roger Andrew were in dominant final’s form to take out the prestigious Carpet Mill Birkenhead $5,500 Men’s Pairs, bouncing back from a poor finish to their qualifying campaign to sweep the field on day two.
Hosted by Birkenhead Bowling Club, the event is now in its ninth year and attracts top talent from throughout North Harbour, Auckland and surrounding areas, with 32 teams seeking their share of the lucrative prize pool and attempting to pocket the $1500 winners’ cheque for their efforts.
With the event format seeing all teams play four games of section play on day one, with the top half of the draw remaining in contention for the Champions Cup, both Clark and Andrew proved that doing just enough is all that is required – winning only two games and progressing to the business end as the thirteenth qualifier.
At the conclusion of qualifying, some star studded names stood out with an unblemished record including former Blackjacks Jamie Hill and Tony Grantham, father and son combination David and Daniel Hood and Daymon Pierson and Jimmy Heath, while Bowls3Five Royal Oak Rocket pairing Mike Galloway and Martin Dixon and Neil Fisher and Bryan Chapman also enjoyed a steady day on the green, recording only one loss.
Surprisingly missing the cut, reigning champions Mark Hall and David Akaruru failed to win a game on day one, automatically dropping down to the Consolation event – but proving too strong for that tier, comfortably taking out first place on day two.
Starting out their post-section run in style, Clark and Andrew dispatched Dixon and Galloway, 15-11, before going on to defeat Fisher and Chapman, 14-6 in their quarter-final fixture. Other quarter-finals saw Brendon Kelly and Neville Hill account for Gavin Brown and James Gavin, Peter Thorne and Sean Hird defeat Hill and Grantham and Henderson duo Tony Garelja and Billy Fulton hand Pierson and Heath their first loss of the event.
The semi-finals action saw Clark and Andrew comfortably progress to the final after their win against Kelly and Hill, while Thorne and Hird had a tougher assignment on their hands, edging Garelja and Fulton, 10-9 in a thrilling exhibition.
Continuing their winning form, Clark and Andrew looked impressive as they combined to push the scoreboard in their favour, taking out the victory, 14-11 and etching their names on a trophy already featuring some of the country’s elite since its inception in 2012.
Meanwhile, a better showing on day two saw last year’s cup winner’s Hall and Akaruru regather some form, defeating Scott Curran and David Eades in the Consolation final, while Birkenhead pairing Mark Rumble and Peter Nathan combined to take out the Consolation Flight category opposite John O’Shea and Randall Watkins.
The Last Chance Challenge was taken out by the Hood combination, defeating Evan Thomas and Lionel Drew.
In other results, former New Zealand internationals Hill and Grantham bounced back from their only defeat to beat Gavin and Brown in the Champions Cup A Flight, while Northcote clubmates Greg Taylor and Brent Malcolm edged the Champions Cup B Flight final, defeating Inglewood’s Steve Sabine and Graham Reive.
With all results found and the 2020 champions crowned, all eyes will now turn to The Good Home Birkenhead Women’s Pairs, as the Bowls NZ endorsed Summer of Bowls programme rolls on and teams vye for a slice of the $6,500 prize pool up for grabs later this month.
Other events to be centred in the North Harbour this month include the New Zealand Masters from February 17 to 21, and the not to be missed visit from world bowls’ star Karen Murphy – arriving later this week for a bowls clinic and to compete in the star-studded women’s pairs event.
The 2021 Carpet Mill Birkenhead Men’s Pairs will return for its 10th edition next year.
Results at a Glance
Carpet Mill Birkenhead $5,500 Men’s Pairs, North Harbour
Champion: Roger Andrew, David Clark (s) (Manurewa Cosmopolitan)
Runners-up: Sean Hird, Peter Thorne (s) (Composite)
3rd equal: Neville Hill, Brendon Kelly (s) (Composite)
3rd equal: Billy Fulton, Tony Garelja (s) (Henderson)
Champions Cup A Flight
Winner: Jamie Hill, Tony Grantham (s) (Mt Albert)
Runners-up: James Gavin, Gavin Brown (s) (Royal Oak)
Champions Cup B Flight
Winner: Greg Taylor, Brent Malcolm (s) (Northcote)
Runners-up: Steve Sabine, Graham Reive (Inglewood)
Winner: David Akaruru, Mark Hall (s) (Composite)
Runners-up: Scott Curran, David Eades (s) (Composite)
Winner: Mark Rumble, Peter Nathan (s) (Birkenhead)
Runners-up: John O’Shea, Randall Watkins (s) (Composite)
Last Chance Challenge
Winner: Daniel Hood, David Hood (s) (Whangarei)
Runners-up: Evan Thomas, Lionel Drew (s) (Birkenhead)
by Sam Morton