Phillips’ quartet claims 115th Taranaki Men’s Open Fours

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The Bruce Phillips’ Tower skipped quartet comprising Mark Kuklinksi, John Roberts and Scott Roberts have taken out top honours in an enthralling all-Taranaki final at the prestigious Taranaki Men’s Open Fours.

Now in its 115th year and a feature event on the Bowls New Zealand Summer of Bowls programme, the event attracted 160 teams, with 11 teams travelling from the Gold Coast, several more making the trip across the ditch to compete and dozens of visiting teams in attendance.

The first four days saw qualifying rounds play out, with teams requiring six wins from eight to advance to post-section play. As the dust settled on qualifying, 41 teams had done enough to contest the silverware up for grabs and by the penultimate day, the semi-finalists were found.

Standing strong in the final four were the reigning West End-based champions Craig De Faria, Jordan Linn, Dave Wilson and Steve Walker, Halswell’s Paul Matheson, Kevan Greenwood, Lawrence Quek and Darryl Hawker, Whangarei’s Dennis Brewster, Donald Cameron, Steve Mitchell and Bart Robertson and eventual winners, Phillips and Co.

Hosted at the picturesque Paritutu Bowling Club, the first all-Taranaki final since 2006 went down to the wire, with scores locked at 17-17 after 25 ends and requiring the rule of overtime to kick in – adding an extra five ends to proceedings.

115th Taranaki Men’s Open Fours champions John Roberts, Mark Kuklinski, Scott Roberts and Bruce Phillips.

Unbeaten throughout the event, Phillips, who was a beaten quarter-finalist last year, came head to head with defending champions De Faria, also unbeaten, in what proved to be an epic finale between two neighbouring clubs.

Despite windy conditions contributing to a challenging playing environment, all players played their part in an entertaining fixture that concluded a week-long tournament with hundreds watching on as the four-hour extravaganza played out.

De Faria, who along with his side, looked to be in dominant form again this year, coasted through qualifying and several games of post-section, endeavouring to chase back-to-back wins and join only four others teams to have achieved the feat in over a century.

However, Phillips and Co certainly had other ideas, with the Tower line-up beating De Faria 5-3 in the allocated extra time, and taking the special victory 22-20.

Adding to the glory and celebrations, John Roberts tallied up his 25th Taranaki title, while Phillips ticked off number 20. For Scott Roberts and Kuklinski, it was their fourth and third titles respectively.

New Plymouth Club sponsored pairs champions Brody Dix & Glenn Newton (Papakura).

In other results, Papakura’s Glenn Newton and Brody Dix combined to win the New Plymouth Club sponsored pairs event (held for non-qualifiers and non-participants in the Taranaki Fours), defeating Te Kuiti’s Mark Tulip and Colin Young, 19-12.

Wanaka’s Tom Malcolm and Richie Muir and Gary Barber and Paddy Deegan ran equal third.

With greens throughout Taranaki hosting more than 640 players, the centre has established itself a reputation both sides of the Tasman for its wonderful hospitality, presentation of greens and faultless operation.

All attention now turns to the Taranaki Women’s Open Fours, commencing Tuesday (January 28).

Results at a Glance
115th Taranaki Men’s Open Fours, New Plymouth

Phillips d De Faria: 22-20 (in extra time)

Phillips d Matheson: 27-15
De Faria d Brewster: 25-6

Scott Roberts, John Roberts, Mark Kuklinski, Bruce Phillips (s) (Tower) d Bill Brunenberg, John Gray, Steve Critchlow, Anton Ferrari (s) (Naenae): 30-15

Darryl Hawker, Lawrence Quek, Kevan Greenwood, Paul Matheson (s) (Halswell) d John O’Shea, Lance Tasker, Steve Hughes, Dan Dickison (s) (Tauranga): 23-21

Jordan Linn, Dave Wilson, Steve Walker, Craig De Faria (s) (West End) d Don Christensen, Mike Walsh, John Zittersteijn, Darren Goodin (s) (Paritutu): 18-6

Donald Cameron, Steven Mitchell, Bart Robertson, Dennis Brewster (s) (Whangarei) d Brian Looker, Eric Cairncross, Ian Monaghan, Brian Little (s) (Palmerston North): 22-14

by Sam Morton