The Summerset National Fours champions have been crowned at the Naenae Bowling Club, with New Zealand squad member Mandy Boyd and former national singles champion Dean Elgar skipping their respective sides to the silverware.
Held at clubs throughout Wellington and the Hutt City regions since Friday, the Bowls New Zealand event culminated in two thrilling finals, with the tournament’s most in-form teams winning through and accounting for some stellar competition along the way.
Former New Zealand international Mike Kernaghan, whose side comprises fellow New Zealand team mate Andrew Kelly and Dunedin representatives Andy McLean and Roger Stevens, travelled through section play unbeaten- and while seemingly in control of the final, came unstuck against a tenacious Elgar four, comprising Bruce Hall, Neil Candy and Gavin Scrivener.
The final saw Elgar, a former national singles champion in both the open nationals and club championships, spearhead his side with some telling shots throughout and staging a comeback of sorts – though it was the multiple numbers dropped by the Kernaghan side that will leave the southerners pondering what might have been.
Leading 22-17 with two ends to play, all bets were on Kernaghan’s line-up to close out the result, but Elgar clearly had other ideas, driving the shot bowl onto the jack and collecting a five count to draw the scores level heading into the final end.
A composed Scrivener, who proved outstanding throughout the competition, set the foundation from the front, leaving Kernaghan to find a way through and win the championship with his final bowl. A stellar effort saw the Dunedin singles representative trail the jack back, only for it to arrive to Elgar’s cover bowl waiting in the wings – prompting a leap of delight from Elgar’s teammates and high fives all round.
Meanwhile, the other action saw former New Zealand skipper Mandy Boyd guide her side of mother and daughter combination Kirsten Edward and Leigh Griffin, along with sister Angela Boyd, to a dominant win against against the well performed side of Margaret O’Connor, Christine Buchanan, Linley O’Callaghan and Anne Dorreen – Boyd’s side racing out to a strong start and holding on to the finish.
The win marked Mandy’s fifth fours title, successfully defending the title from last year’s event – albeit with one change in personnel as Edwards replaced Canterbury’s Sheryl McLean. Between the quartet, it’s the sixth national title the Boyd sisters have won together, while Griffin has starred in three and Edwards in two.
The semi-finals saw O’Connors’ side power to a finals berth at the expense of the Terrace End quartet of Sheryn Blake, Christina Bryan, Ailsa Lindsay and Lynlea Rogers, while Boyd’s side edged a thrilling encounter opposite reigning national women’s singles champion Debbie White, whose line-up included two development bowlers, Angela Stephen and Jocelyn Holten, along with White’s local clubmate Carol Cox – Boyd’s side finishing strong, 19-15.
Across rinks, the men’s field saw the vast experience of Kernaghan’s quartet successfully negotiate a firm semi-final challenge in Central Otago’s Pat Houlahan-skipped composite of Howard O’Donnell, Roger O’Brien and Conor Muir, while Elgar put a stop to the fairytale run of Hawkes Bay’s Dean Drummond, dispatching Drummond, Richard Hocking, Dave Henderson and Lloyd Fitness, 21-6.
The Summerset National Fours concluded with the prize-giving and presentations, with Bowls NZ chief executive Mark Cameron taking the opportunity to thank everyone involved, including an almighty thanks to Kevin Hickland, who had spent near on 12 days straight commentating both the BPL09 and this week’s action at Naenae and a special plaque presentation to the host club.
The Summerset National Singles and Pairs will return next season, with the host venue to be announced in the coming weeks for the 2020 edition.
Results at a
Summerset National Fours, Naenae Bowling Club, Lower Hutt
Elgar d Kernaghan: 23-22
Dean Elgar, Bruce Hall, Neil Candy, Gavin Scrivener (composite) d Dean Drummond, Richard Hocking, Dave Henderson, Lloyd Fitness; 21-6
Mike Kernaghan, Andrew Kelly, Andy McLean, Roger Stevens (composite) d Pat Houlahan, Howard O’Donnell, Roger O’Brien, Conor Muir; 20-11
Boyd d O’Connor; 20-13
Mandy Boyd, Kirsten Edwards, Leigh Griffin, Angela Boyd (composite) d Debbie White, Carol Cox, Angela Stephen, Jocelyn Holten (composite); 19-15
Margaret O’Connor, Christine Buchanan, Linley O’Callaghan, Anne Dorreen (composite) d Sheryn Blake, Christina Bryan, Ailsa Lindsay, Lynlea Rogers (Terrace End); 32-15