A place in this year’s Bowls3Five televised league is up for grabs at the Naenae Bowling Club this weekend (August 1-2).
Five teams from around the country are gathering in Lower Hutt for the Bowls3Five interclub finals, attempting to emulate Hinuera, who won the inaugural event.
Three of the semi-finalists have been found, with the last of the quarter-finals to be played on Saturday afternoon to decide the final four. It pits Manawatu champions Takaro against upper South Island winners Blenheim.
Takaro’s side is headlined by three-time world champion Sharon Sims and also features Mark Noble, who was the regular skip of the Parajacks in last year’s televised league.
Takaro has already had some success at Naenae this year, having overcome Wellington champions Miramar at the venue in the round of 16.
Blenheim knocked out reigning Bowls3Five champs Stoke in the last 16 and like Takaro boast a couple of familiar faces.
Former Blackjacks Matt Gallop and Maurice Symes bring international class to the tournament, which is very much a family affair for the Marlborough champions.
Gallop will play alongside his brother Steven and his mum and dad, Jan and Lloyd, while Symes’ wife Val is also in the Blenheim team.
The quarter-final winner will then advance to play the other three semi-finalists in a round-robin format before the top two meet in the tournament decider.
Elmwood Park look the team to beat. The Saints are led by decorated Blackjack Gary Lawson and former international Mandy Boyd and showed their quality in the Bowls3Five televised league last year, before losing in the final.
They beat local rivals Canterbury 2017 in the round of 32 before beating Meadowbank (North Otago) and Te Rangi (Southland) to book their place at Naenae.
Having already secured entry into this year’s televised league, Elmwood Park are playing for the prestige of being interclub champions.
If the Saints win, the runner-up will be invited to take part in the TV comp.
Manurewa (Counties-Manukau) and Putaruru (Waikato) are the two other clubs chasing that berth.
Manurewa has beaten the best of the upper North Island to advance to the final four, having knocked out inaugural Bowls3Five winners Pt Chevalier (Auckland) in the round of 16, before accounting for Takapuna (North Harbour) in the quarter-finals.
Clark is the best known of Manurewa’s players nationally, having won the open pairs title in 2001.
The Suttons, Noel, Owen and Paul, form the core of the Putaruru side, which overcame reigning interclub champions Hinuera to be crowned Waikato winners.
Putaruru then beat Coromandel (Thames Valley) and Bay View (Hawke’s Bay) to emerge as the premier club in the central North Island.
The Bowls3Five interclub finals will be broadcast on Sky Sport 9, starting with a first round game at 3pm on Saturday.