From Left: Selina Goddard, Clare Hendra, Tayla Bruce and Mandy Boyd
It was final jubilation for Burnside's Tayla Bruce as she stormed home to claim the coveted National Women's Singles trophy at the Summerset National Championships, holding off a spirited attempt from close friend and pairs' partner Clare Hendra in Christchurch.
Edging out to a 10-6 lead, Bruce continued to impress on her home green. A tenacious Hendra clawed her way back to contention and took the lead 13-10, though Bruce was able to turn the tables again, racing out to a 18-14 advantage. A two and a single proved enough to close out the title, Bruce finally lifting the silverware after multiple near misses in previous years - winning the prestigious accolade at the third time of asking.
Meanwhile, it was an all-round high performance final in the men's pairs, with national squad members Andrew Kelly and Seamus Curtin combining to deny Gary Lawson a fifteenth title and consigning Tony Grantham to a second runners-up berth in as many days. With Lawson and Grantham proving in fine form throughout the championships, Kelly and Curtin had to be at their best - and so it came to be.
Trailing 11-9 after 13 ends, Kelly and Curtin put on a commanding display in the last few ends, with the Lawson composite requiring six shots to force an extra end. Two last gasp full blooded drives from Lawson whistled past, with Kelly picking up a two and moving within one title of his Gold Star. The win gave Curtin, who plays out of the Stokes Valley club in Wellington, his maiden national title.
Beaten semi-finalists include singles' champion Kelvin Scott and Barry Williams, and the formidable pairing of Taylor Horn and Jesse Russell. Earlier in the day, Lawson defeated Kelvin Jackson and Brent Webster, Scott and Williams accounted for Aiden Takarua and Richard Hocking, Horn and Russell beat Steve Beel and Ross Gillett and Kelly and Curtin stopped the well-performed run from Canterbury duo Rodney Greaney and Paul Matheson, 17-12.
In other results, the women's singles saw Hendra defeat Mandy Boyd in Sunday's semi-final 21-12, while Bruce edged a thrilling encounter opposite Selina Goddard, holding her nerve to close the game out 21-19, weathering a spirited fightback from the 2017 champion.
As the sun sets and the names are written into the history book for another year, 2022 will be remembered for the dominance of the local favourites, with Canterbury featuring as winners in all four disciplines - albeit with Wellington's Curtin enjoying the win with Kelly. The other winners were Elmwood Park's Kelvin Scott in the men's singles, Sandra Keith and Bev Morel in the women's pairs and Burnside's Tayla Bruce in the women's singles.
All eyes will now turn to Taranaki next month as the Summerset Nationals return for the fours and mixed pairs respectively from February 24 through to 3 March.
Congratulations to all of this year's champions and finalists.