The annual fortnight-long Taranaki bowls carnival has concluded, with the 66th edition of the Taranaki women’s Open fours heading to the Bay of Plenty for just the third time.
Progressing through section play with six-straight wins, the Tauranga South side of Karen Clarke, Robyn Davis, Marilyn McLeod and skip Margaret Reed ran out convincing winners. In the final the side deservedly beat the Tower side of Hazel Schwartfeger, Frances Busby, Maureen Tamou and skip Patty Symes 30-16.
In a nutshell, the Bay of Plenty side drew far more consistently in the final, putting more bowls on the head and largely controlling the match after the morning tea break. Symes’ side had headed into the interlude holding a 12-8 lead after nine ends. That had largely come about because of Reed’s side being wayward on ends two and seven, when Tower pulled a four and a five. The five gave Tower a 9-8 advantage, and that was backed that up with a two and a single. In fact, they may have wished for the scrumptious scones – some with cream and jam, others with cheese and tomato – could have been a few ends later. As when the sides returned, it was Tower who were at sea and Tauranga South who were the dominant side. Their rise started with a three, followed by a four, a two, two singles and then a five. Suddenly, Reed’s quartet had moved to 24 and Symes was still stranded on 12. The Hawera-based side managed to pull back a two and single, but the prior trend returned, with Reed taking the next four ends – with a single, a three, and two further singles. Playing for pride on the 22nd end, Symes took a single, but it was academic by then.
In the semifinals, both Reed and Symes collected counts of seven on their way to securing finals berths. Denise Samuel’s Glenfield side of Paris Baker, Caroline Dubois and Barbara Seddon led Reed 13-7 after 13 ends, but a count of seven on the next end proved decisive as Reed went on to win 26-20. Symes collected a seven on end 13, opening up a 22-10 lead over the Inglewood side of Lorraine Crofskey, Margaret Luckin, Loris Ropitini and Cindy Nichol, before going on to win 34-19.
Reed had earlier in the second round of post section shown remarkable resilience to come from 22-5 down to beat the 2016 winner Bev Robinson (Opunake) 33-25.
The tournament attracted 54 entries, with 20 of them from outside Taranaki.