New Zealand Blackjack Selina Goddard has taken out the 2019 Stoke Stakes Invitational Women’s Singles on her adopted home track, defeating the vastly experienced Linda Ralph in an exciting finals’ clash in Nelson.
The event, now in its second year, has attracted some of the country’s best performed female bowlers to the region, with organisers praising the quality of the field and growing reputation.
Goddard, who earlier this season took out the Women’s Premier Open Singles in Auckland, has this year joined the Stoke club, featuring in the televised Bowls3Five league on Sky Sport with the Stoke Thunder and making her first trip to the sun soaked region this weekend.
Already a popular hit with the locals, for those who weren’t familiar with the Takapuna-based bowler, Goddard’s win on the Stoke greens will surely be the only introduction they need.
For the most part, both Goddard and Ralph spent the opening ends of the match-up trading shots equally, though with the score extending out to 15-11 in favour of Ralph, Goddard turned it up a gear and powered home with nine shots in four ends to take the win, 21-16.
“There has been some amazing games out here today, this year’s field was insane,” Goddard said.
“The greens have been playing really well, the conditions have been awesome and I feel right at home. The hospitality, the organisation has all been fantastic and I can’t wait to come back in December to play the pairs.”
The semi-finals saw Goddard overcome challenges from Kaaren Guildford (quarter-final) and former world singles champion Sandra Keith (semi-final) in the top eight, while Ralph, an Auckland Bowls representative, proved too strong for New Zealand representative Kirsten Edwards (quarter-final) and Nelson local Katie Scott (semi-final) in the other top eight fixtures.
Goddard, who will represent New Zealand in the upcoming Trans-Tasman and Multi-Nations fixtures later this month, is fast becoming known for her consistency on the big stages and following her efforts over the weekend, can now add the Stoke Women’s Singles to her bulging resume.
The other beaten quarter-finalists in the main event included Leigh Griffin and Sheryl Viggers, with Scott beating Griffin, 21-19 and Keith bettering Viggers, 21-15.
In other results, Canterbury’s Jan Shirley defeated Wellington representative Dale Rayner to take out the Plate final, with Shirley accounting for former Blackjack Mandy Boyd and Rayner stopping Burnside’s Tessa Lee in the semi-final fixtures.
The action continues for Stoke later this week as the Stoke Stakes Men’s Pairs’ field roll into town, with some quality combinations among the mix making for some exciting viewing come Friday.
Live stream action will be available through the Stoke Bowls Facebook page throughout the three day event.
Results at a Glance
2019 Stoke Stakes Women’s Invitational Singles, Nelson
Goddard d Ralph: 21-16
Goddard d Keith: 21-11
Ralph d Scott: 21-17
Selina Goddard (Stoke/Takapuna) d Kaaren Guildford (Johnsonville): 21-17
Katie Scott (United) d Leigh Griffin (Stoke/Victoria): 21-19
Sandra Keith (Alleton) d Sheryl Viggers (Taradale): 21-15
Linda Ralph (Carlton Cornwall) d Kirsten Edwards (Stoke): 21-19
by Sam Morton