Takarua and team in successful Keys defence

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Auckland representative Aiden Takarua and his Pt Chevalier side of Colin Williams, Harry Davies and Ashleigh Jeffcoat successfully defended their title at the Barfoot & Thompson St Heliers Keys Fours tournament last weekend.

Now endorsed as a Bowls New Zealand Summer of Bowls event, the Keys event has long been recognised as the most prestigious fixture on the St Heliers’ schedule, attracting 28 entries, with the host club itself fielding eleven teams of their own.

First held at the club in 1930/31, the Keys event is named after St Heliers’ founding member Len Keys, who represented New Zealand at the 1934 Empire Games in London and was a household name in local bowling circles.

2020 Keys Open Fours champions Aiden Takarua, from left, Harry Davies, Colin Williams and Ashleigh Jeffcoat, with tournament sponsor Stephanie Kelland.

Popular from last year’s event, the club once again ran a blind draw where teams could select their own opponents – resulting in some early head to head games and exciting opening action.

After a hot day of section play, with the temperature reaching up to 30C, eight teams progressed forward and remained in the running for the tournament’s top honour.

The eight sides (skips only) comprised; Bill Whitburn (St Heliers), Joe Whitelaw (Ellerslie), Neil Fisher (Howick), Richard Kempthorne (St Heliers), David Ball (Mt Wellington), Sidney Chance (Ellerslie), Allan Spence (St Heliers) and Takarua and Co.

Takarua, who this year introduced fellow Bowls3Five identity Ashleigh Jeffcoat of the Gore Rams to his line-up to replace Alex Reed, combined well with his side, pegging back a deficit in the finishing stages to take the lead and secure the title, 16-15.

Local hope Whitburn and his side of Roger Johnston, Ling Qu and Barry Greene finished runner-up, while Howick’s Neil Fisher, Bryan Chapman, Gary Cotton and Les Brown rounded out third place.

Plate winners Allan Spence, Dianne Harris, John Staines and Colin Harris, with tournament sponsor Bruce Blacklock.

Meanwhile, St Heliers’ skip Allan Spence and his side of Diane Harris, John Staines and Colin Harris took out the Plate competition, with Mt Wellington’s David Ball, Kevin Beasley, Ian Dee and Peter Whiting finishing a close runner-up.

Rounding out the action for 2020, Ellerslie’s Sidney Chan, Esther Eu, Barclay Lee and Paul Lau finished third, while another St Heliers combination in Richard Kempthorne, Chris Day, Paula Kempthorne and Kaye Wilson took out fourth.

Notable mention must go to the eleven St Heliers teams, who at some level, all received places and prizes at the completion of the event.

The 2021 Keys Open Fours will return in February next year.

Results at a Glance
2020 Keys Open Fours, St Heliers

Cup Event
Champion: Aiden Takarua, Colin Williams, Harry Davies, Ashleigh Jeffcoat (Pt Chevalier)
2nd: Bill Whitburn, Roger Johnston, Ling Qu, Barry Greene (St Heliers)
3rd: Neil Fisher, Bryan Chapman, Gary Cotton, Les Brown (Howick)
4th: David Prasad, Joe Whitelaw, Mike Costello, Mike Rapson (St Heliers)

Plate Event
Winners: Allan Spence, Diane Harris, John Staines, Colin Harris (St Heliers)
2nd: David Ball, Kevin Beasley, Ian Dee, Peter Whiting (Mt Wellington)
3rd: Sidney Chan, Ester Eu, Barclay Lee, Paul Lau (Ellerslie)
4th: Richard Kempthorne, Chris Day, Paula Kempthorne, Kaye Wilson (St Heliers)

by Sam Morton