As day four of the 2022 Summerset Nationals drew to a close, all eyes were on two former men’s singles champions as they fought to etch their name on the coveted silverware for a second time in the event’s history. In what proved a gripping finale, 1998 champion Kelvin Scott was in devastating draw form as he closed out an impressive win opposite Auckland's Tony Grantham – Grantham himself a singles champion in 2007 and a former Commonwealth Games representative in recent years.
A stunning semi-final performance saw Scott end the title defence of Royal Oak’s Mike Galloway, who despite falling short of the ultimate hurdle, can be proud of his efforts in what has been a debut showing at the National Championships in the South Island – all of Galloway’s previous appearances being in the North.
Brimming with composure, the Elmwood Park campaigner seemingly had a solid game plan to outdraw his opponents, drawing his way through to victory with uncanny accuracy and precision and executing the occasional resting shot when required.
A gritty fight back from Grantham in the final kept the game entertaining for the rinkside crowd and those watching on Sky Sport Next, with Grantham digging deep and showing he has what it takes to compete at the highest level. Though it proved to be Scott’s day, as the Cantabrian collected two shots to close out the win 21-14 – some 24 years after collecting his maiden national singles title.
Meanwhile, it was hugs and smiles all round as Canterbury’s Sandra Keith and Bev Morel combined to take out the women’s pairs – carrying out a commanding display of bowls in the final opposite Clare Hendra and Tayla Bruce, 20-8.
Both Hendra and Bruce, who were also runner-ups in this discipline two years prior, were unable to find any answers for the consistency of Morel and the calm and collected nature of Keith. Racing out to a commanding lead, Keith and Morel continued to pile on the pressure, with Morel leading from the front and controlling proceedings throughout.
Several last gasp efforts from Hendra and Bruce at the later stages of the game were not enough to deny both Keith and Morel their fourth national open titles respectively, with Keith previously winning the singles in 2012, the pairs in 2013 and the fours in 2020, and Morel combining with Sherrie Cottle in 2018 to win the pairs, alongside two former fours’ victories in 1995 and 2007.
In previous fixtures, Keith and Morel accounted for the Hawkes Bay duo of Natarsha Grimshaw and Hanna Rio da Silva 22-17, while Hendra and Bruce stamped their authority in a one-way semi-final opposite Burnside mother and daughter pairing Kirsten Rowe and Emily Miller, 28-7.
In other results, the return of Andrew Curtain continued through to the semi-final after the former Kiwi international defeated Barry Williams 21-3 in Wednesday morning’s quarter-final, though a firm match-up opposite Grantham saw Curtain’s run come to an end, bowing out of the title race, 21-13.
Grantham, now playing out of the Mt Albert Club in Auckland, had earlier put paid to the hopes of Burnside local Richard Hocking 21-17, while across rinks, Scott made light work of Tauranga South’s Eric Pattillo, 21-7. In similar fashion, Galloway coasted through his quarter-final encounter opposite Bay of Plenty representative Nicholas Tomsett, 21-9.
The 2022 Summerset Nationals will now turn its attention to the women’s singles and the men’s pairs, with play set to get underway at multiple qualifying venues throughout the Garden City on Thursday. Live stream action of the NZDLBA post-section singles and vision impaired finals will be available on Sky Sport Next throughout the day, as play continues at the Burnside HQ.
For more information, draws and results, go to:
Post Section Results for Men's Singles & Women's Pairs AVAILABLE HERE - Bowls New Zealand