Hot, humid conditions greeted bowlers on the first day of the 113th Taranaki men’s Open fours in New Plymouth and surrounding areas on Monday.
By the end of the date, as predicted, most of the big guns had emerged unscathed – but there were exceptions, including past Dominion pairs winners Dan Delany (Royal Oak) and Rex Holmes (Paraparaumu Beach), who along with three-time winner Gary Lilley (West End), Cary Pinker (Wanganui East), Mark Anderson (Alton) and Stu Settle (Hinuera) all dropped a match during the day. The plight of the 2003 winner Russell Hardy (Tower) was much worst, his side losing both games and meaning that they must win the remaining six matches to qualify.
But there were a host of top teams who didn’t have too many problems, even though by the end of the day, some greens had begin to show signs of burning.
Heading that list of visitors were Brian Little (Palmerston North), Barry Wynks (Takaro), Peter Dorreen (Far North RSA), Howard Ivory (Wilton), Ray Park (Wanganui), Peter Clark (Tauranga South) and Peter Belliss (Aramoho).
A number of Taranaki teams also got off on the right footing with two wins, including Craig Johns (West End), Ian Andrews (Paritutu), Graham Baxter (Hawera Park) and Fred Hughes (Lepperton).
After sneaking home 18-17 against Mervyn Jackman (Wainuiomata), the Lepperton side had the satisfaction of upsetting Holmes, who has made the Open final on three separate occasions, 23-19.
Delany fell in his first match 24-20 to Evert Kremer, a two-winner from Paraparaumu Beach. But Delany got back on track in beating Ian Busby (Tower) 25-18 in the afternoon.
Lilley dropped his match to Mike Oldfield (Tauranga South) 22-18, while Anderson was ousted 25-22 by Alan Sandercock (Australia).
Settle’s loss was no complete surprise, being tipped up 28-24 in the feature game of the morning by Noel Probyn (Fitzroy). Settle rebounded to win in the afternoon, whereas Probyn was defeated by another team with a 50% record, Garry Murfitt (West End).
Hardy’s opening loss was to Pihama’s underrated Terry Mullin 23-20 and his hopes took a further dive to Peter Thompson (Paekakariki) 24-23.