Following a 13-year hiatus, the Russell Double returned in popular style last weekend, attracting teams from all pockets of the far north and surrounding provinces including Te Kuiti, Titirangi, Papakura, Leigh, Whangarei, Orewa and Morrinsville.
Held as a combination of two key events, the Kaimarama Family Memorial and Patron’s tournaments, the Russell Double featured this season as an official Summer of Bowls endorsed competition, with promising Manurewa youngster Clayton Hockley proving a star attraction among the field.
However, as good as Hockley’s skill, touch and shot selection was, it was the composite Northland side skipped by Sam Nelson that proved most impressive, with Nelson and his team of John Hay and Mike Butler taking out top honour and claiming the $1500 winners’ cheque.
Despite some inclement weather throwing up some unwanted challenges throughout the event, the determined spirit of the match committee and support from players saw the event through to completion, with some outstanding bowls played over the two-day event.
Other results saw the Hikurangi trio of Leanne Stewart, Graeme Lawrence and Diane Lawrence finish runner-up, while fellow Hikurangi clubmates Steve Mitchell, Betty Mitchell and former New Zealand representative Manu Timoti ran a close third – rounding out a classy top three.
To mark the return of the triples-based event, organisers were keen to create an atmosphere off the green too, with local produce and refreshments going down as a hit with participants, along with the Saturday night entertainment.
Day one saw teams competing in the Kaimarama Memorial segment of the event, sponsored by the Russell Bowling Club and incorporating the input and support provided by former club stalwarts Ka and Miriama Kaimarama, while day two reflected the generosity of club patron Russell Emerson – Emerson recently elected to the position following the passing of both Past Patron and Patron/Life Member Ron Hamilton and Beau Sanders respectively.
Reflecting on the success of the event, Russell Bowling Club president and co-event organiser Gary Hooson credited the strong core of volunteer help from within the club and the wider community and was looking forward to building on this year’s event in 2019.
Results at a Glance
Russell Double, Northland, New Zealand
Sam Nelson, John Hay, Mike Butler – (Composite, Northland)
Leanne Stewart, Graeme Lawrence, Diane Lawrence – (Hikurangi)
Steve Mitchell, Betty Mitchell, Manu Timoti – (Hikurangi)