New Plymouth Line-up Ready for Action

June 9, 2021

There’s an old saying that goes: “the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.”

Basically, despite the best preparation and positive intention – things just don’t go the way they are expected to.

Just speak with New Plymouth’s Val McEldowney, who along with team mates Tobyn Hori and Kelly Hill, will attest to that very statement.

In fact, other than eventually qualifying and securing a place in the National Bowls3Five Playoffs in Wellington next month, their campaign went anything other than to plan.

First there was the wet weather that plagued the November-scheduled format, then came the loss of their original skipper (who was unable to commit to the rescheduled dates), next there was the need for car headlights to be directed at the green to finish the local finals and then just days out from the regional playoff opposite Wellington/Kapiti qualifier, Val herself had a bad fall and broke a bone in her arm.

Plan, what plan?

Alas, Val’s fellow Taranaki representative bowler Anne Duggan received the call-up, and though hesitant to step in to the limelight, proved to be the deciding factor in a thrilling match-up against Johnsonville.

“Anne wasn’t sure about being put in at that level, but what would you know, come the tiebreaker this little replacement draws two touchers and here we are, on our way to Wellington,” Val recalled.

“It’s been quite the campaign to this point, we’ve managed to overcome set backs and the team have done amazing . . . we’re all looking forward to the next step.”

Since stepping in to fill the skipper’s void, Kelly, who has formerly represented Taranaki at development level, has shown his promise as a player to watch.

In the coming weeks, the side will keep themselves in form with regular practice sessions at the Paritutu Stadium, though as to who will line-up at Naenae, time will tell as Val herself will make a decision on her own movement and playing ability in the coming weeks.

“If I’m not up to it, I won’t be stubborn and push on . . . I’ll know in myself after a few bowls closer to the occasion and I’ll do what’s right by the team at that point,” Val said.

“We’ll all be heading down the road, so if I can’t return to the green, Anne will be there to continue the job and we’re pleased to have that option.”

And they won’t be alone.

More than a dozen club supporters will also be making the trip to the capital, as the New Plymouth trio bid to continue their campaign on a winning note and push towards a place in the Grand Final.

Well, that’s the plan – anyhow!