New Zealand Talent Development Squad member Ray Martin and Titahi Bay representative Robbie Bennett have once again etched their names on the honours board at the Paraparaumu Beach Bowling Club, taking out this year’s prestigious 2-4-2 Masters Pairs in the closest of finales.
Endorsed as a Summer of Bowls event, the tournament has long been a draw card for some of the best players around, with many relishing the opportunity to get some early season game time on what are typically always stunning greens and surroundings on the Kapiti Coast.
With a green of high profile names among the sections, including New Zealand High Performance Squad member Seamus Curtin and partner Nick Buttar, multiple national title holder Dean Elgar, former winners in Rob Ashton, Ray Boffa, Rex Holmes and others and defending champions Graham Cooley and Peter Thomson, this year’s field proved to be wide open.
Though, when the dust settled, it was Martin and Bennett, along with Marlborough composite Maurice Symes and Scott Mansfield, who were left standing to contest the Masters’ Grand Final.
The final saw an even battle throughout, with Symes and Mansfield taking a narrow lead heading into the business end of the fixture – though with Martin and Bennett trailing by one, all eyes were fixed firmly on the final end.
A second bowl toucher saw Martin sit right in front of the jack, proving too difficult to dislodge.
Several attempts from the Marlborough pairing saw them go close, though a narrow line saw Symes’ promote Bennett’s bowl through to the head to sit with the two shots required for victory.
A last ditch attempt from Mansfield to save game saw his bowl finish up short, leaving Martin and Bennett with the win – taking out the $1600 winners’ cheque and backing up their 2015 triumph. Martin will pair up with Curtin to represent New Zealand at the prestigious Hong Kong International Classic later this year.
Mansfield and Symes were also in action in 2016, though were named joint finalists opposite Kapiti locals Wayne Coleman and Phil Edwards, as heavy rain forced cancellation of the final. Symes has however won the event, partnering New Zealand representative Andrew Kelly in 2010 to take out top honour.
Other qualifiers for the Main Event included Curtin/Buttar, R Thorn and R Bird, Thomson/Cooley, R Holmes/S Glavas, R Ashton/B Stubbins and B Henderson/J Madden.
In other results, Wellington/Manawatu composite Ken Brown and Mark Noble combined well to secure the Plate, while the finals for Division 3, 4, 5 & 6 were left uncontested.
This year marked the 26th edition of the popular pairs event, with the inaugural event hosted in 1994 – subsequently won by Gary Lawson and Peter Shaw.
Results at a Glance
2019 Paraparaumu Beach 2x4x2 Masters Pairs, Kapiti Coast
Winners: Raymond Martin, Robbie Bennett (Wellington)
R/Up: Maurice Symes, Scott Mansfield (Marlborough)
Winners: Mark Noble, Ken Brown (composite)