Tessa Farley and Colin Williams
As she looked down the green, Tessa Farley knew it was now-or-never time for her combination in the Ryman Healthcare Open 2-4-2 Mixed Pairs event.
From a massive field of 96 teams, it was down to the final four.
Farley, playing alongside Colin Williams (Pt Chevalier), had been involved in a thrilling semi-final against Alex Reed and Jenny Stockford (also Pt Chevalier).
The match went to a second extra end, with multiple lead changes, before Farley stepped up for her final two bowls.
“I could see the opportunity - it was lined up quite perfectly,” said Farley. “I was a bit nervous though; if it was a few millimetres off it wouldn’t have gone through. I had two chances…but it had to be played pretty perfectly.”
The 27-year-old Farley judged it perfectly, getting the weight and direction just right to push one of her bowls onto the jack and seal a 17-16 win.
“Obviously I wa
s pretty happy,” said Farley. “We were playing well but bowls is bit funny like that. You can be going well but you never quite know.”
After the extended semi-final contest, Williams and Farley only had 15 minutes to rest and reflect before they went back onto the green for the decider.
“The semi-final was such a great game but very draining,” admitted Farley.
The final was another close affair, with Williams and Farley prevailing 15-11 over Kimberly Hemingway and James Williams (Carlton Cornwall).
Nothing separated the two teams until the final four ends, when Williams and Farley edged away.
“We played really well as a team the whole weekend,” said Farley. “We weren’t always both on, but the other player tended to be there if one of us was struggling. It was great. We had only played [together] once before and it didn’t go that well.”
The result continues Farley’s impressive progress. Only in her fifth year, she took up the sport partly due to family ties.
‘My Dad started playing, then my sister and my Mum,” explained Farley. “I thought I better start so I can keep hanging out with them.”
Farley and her older sister Chelsea (29) had previously been focussed on Curling, taking up the ice-based sport while students at Auckland’s Epsom Girls Grammar School.
They made the New Zealand Under-21 team, then the full national team and played some Pacific qualifying competitions for the world championships.
But the costs were becoming prohibitive – and it was tough facing full time professionals from other countries so Chelsea, then Tessa, made the switch to bowls.
“I always say that Cur
ling was like Lawn bowls on ice…so there were some similarities”
Farley, who works as a payroll administrator for Datacom, has represented both Balmoral and Pt Chevalier in her bowling career.
The 2021 edition of the Auckland Mixed Pairs 2-4-2 was the biggest yet (96 teams) after 88 teams in 2020 and 84 entries in 2019.
Hosted by the Howick bowling club, matches were also staged at Te Atatu, St Heliers, Glen Eden and Papatoetoe.