As the water started to fall, albeit only in a soft and unobtrusive way, a number of the pretournament
favourites were eliminated from the 113th Taranaki Open fours on Wednesday.
The biggest names to fall were Dan Delany (Royal Oak), Cary Pinker (Wanganui East) and Rex
Holmes (Paraparaumu Beach) when they all recorded their third loss.
The other big story of the day was that Peter Belliss (Aramoho) dropped both his games, meaning, if the weather Gods are kind, the Wanganui team will need to win both matches on Thursday to qualify.
Delany, the four-time winner, lost in the sixth round 23-22 to Fitzroy’s Colin Christie, despite holding a handy early advantage.
Earlier in the day Delany had come from 21-7 down to beat Warren Bellringer (New Plymouth) 26-25, Delany getting the shot with his last bowl. Bellringer’s day didn’t get any better, either, falling to five-winner Ross Henderson (West End).
Pinker beat Holmes in the morning 30-12. But then he was edged out 22-19 by five-winner
Gary Lilley (West End) in the afternoon to also be eliminated.
The double slip-up from the Belliss side was a real surprise as his team had been tracking very
well. In the morning, Russell Hardy’s Tower team finally found some form, beating Belliss 27-
25, while in the afternoon it was the Fitzroy four headed by Des Brophy that won 27-18. It was
Brophy’s fourth win.
There were plenty of happy bowlers by the end of the day, nonetheless, with 10 teams having already qualified.
Howard Ivory (Wilton) and Mike Cavanagh (Pukekohe) both emerged with the perfect record from section seven.
Cavanagh, who made the last 16 in both 2015 and 2016, beat Gerard Slattery (Hinuera) 25-12 and Richard Meacle (Australia) 27-7. Ivory beat Alan Melrose (Helensville) 30-13 and then eliminated Slattery 25-20.
There are also two qualifiers already in section six, with Craig Johns (West End and Rodney Woods (Opunake) both six winners.
Johns looms as the best local hope of victory, beating Scott McGavin (Bulls) 29-15 and Philip
Drought (Paritutu) 25-6.
Woods and his team of Bob Commane, Paddy Deegan and Kevin Ratahi sneaked past Drought
24-23 and then beat Mark Dudley (Hawera Park) 26-8.
The family team headed by Rahotu’s Ian Lowry continued their impressive run to qualify. They
ended the hopes of John Sexton (West End) 29-22 and then beat Don Gyde (Inglewood) 37-21.
Brian Little’s champion side from 2016 also took the direct route to post section, winning both games. The Palmerston North side beat Terry Osment (Te Awamutu) 24-14 and Joe Peel (Inglewood) 24-11.
Kevin Coombe (Aramoho) also qualified with some style. His side beat Gerry O’Sullivan (Inglewood) 26-12 and Garry Banks (Mairangi Bay) 31-18. The results ended the hopes of both O’Sullivan and Banks.
It’s been a great week so far for the two Hillcrest teams in the Open, with both Dave Selby and Mort Jones unbeaten. Selby’s side had a trouble-free day beating George Markie (Vogeltown) 30-9 and then notched up win No 6 in beating James Carter (Paritutu) 37-3, while Jones beat Ian Andrews (Paritutu) 24-19 and Bill Johnston (Fitzroy) 27-20.
Peter Thomson (Paekakariki) is the other qualifier. Thomson’s side edged Brophy 23-20 in the
morning and then beat Peter Sprake (New Plymouth) 21-7 in the afternoon.
Weather permitting, two further rounds will be played on Thursday. Six wins are required to