Southland representative Elliot Mason has combined with Queenstown’s Christine Buchanan to take out the coveted ILT Southland Charity Pairs, emerging victorious after a closely contested final against the composite duo of Jason Heffer and Conor Muir in Invercargill.
With section play stationed at the Otatara and Invercargill greens on day one, post-section play arrived back at tournament headquarters Waihopai on Sunday, with the top 16 teams progressing through to the main event.
As a quirky point of difference, combinations are pre-selected by the event match committee, with formidable pairings carefully considered throughout the field, including some automatic entries and top drawcard Jo Edwards, who has attended the tournament for many years.
The event comprises 64 quality contenders, with around 25 high-performing players invited from outside of Southland, and the remaining players comprising locals from a wide array of clubs throughout the province.
The final saw both sides trade equal points for the most part, with the scores locked at 8-8 after 10 of the 15 ends. Though, it was the consistency of Buchanan and Mason that eventually saw them power to the finish and secure the silverware in what is the event’s 44th year.
In previous fixtures, the semi-finals were one-way traffic with Mason and Buchanan putting paid to the title run of tournament favourites Stephen Sanders and Craig Tinker, while Heffer and Muir proved too strong for Matt Tautari and Debbie Jackson.
Reflecting on the weekend, tournament organiser Andrew MacGregor said the event went like clockwork, thanking everyone for their participation and camaraderie.
Since its inception, the ILT Charity Pairs has raised more than $350,000 for Southland organisations and groups, with the $15,000 raised this year distributed among 13 recipients.
“Everyone had a great time and as always there were some brilliant bowls on display. On behalf of the committee, a big thanks has to go to all the sponsors, volunteers, officials and players that make the tournament what it is,” MacGregor said.
“It’s a pretty special feeling to be able to do what we do, and when you listen to the heartfelt gratitude from the receiving groups and organisations, that’s what it’s all about.”
In other results, Iain MacCallum and Liz Tomlins won the plate, overcoming a firm challenge from former New Zealand representative Sandra Keith and Fraser Purdue.
Rounding out the results for the weekend, Lisa White and Grant Fortune won the Split 6s on Friday night, while Brent Webster proved the most consistent in the Roger Toogood Memorial Shootout.
The Southland Charity Pairs will return next year for its 45th edition.