Catherine Bien bursts into singles semifinals at New Zealand Bowls Championships


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St Heliers’ Catherine Bien burst into the semifinals of the women’s singles at the New Zealand Bowls Championships in New Plymouth in spectacular style on Wednesday.

Bien upset national squad member Tayla Bruce (Burnside) 21-18 to secure her place in Friday’s semis, coming from 18-12 down to do so. Bien will meet Reen Stratford (Aramoho) in the semifinals, while the other surviving players are Selina Goddard (Carlton Cornwall) and Katelyn Inch (Oxford WMC). While Goddard only entered the singles, the other three players are also into the quarterfinals of the pairs.

“I just told myself, ‘one point at a time’,” Bien said after her victory. The breezy conditions made play tricky, but Bien stuck to the narrow hand. “I thought I was reasonably consistent throughout.”

Bien won the last five ends of the match and grew in significant confidence after grabbing a four to make it 18-17.

Bien, who is tutored by former national pairs finalist Barclay Lee, is in her 12th season of bowls, the last 11 of which have been at St Heliers, after she debuted at Okahu Bay.

Despite being a member of the greater Auckland squad, Bien is yet to play top-seven bowls for her province, from where she has won four centre titles.

Stratford received a stern test in her quarterfinal, before prevailing 21-19 over Sarah Scott (North East Valley). Scott led 10-3 before Stratford strung together six successive ends to lead 15-10. It became tight after that, with Stratford dislodging Scott’s shot bowl onto the jack with her last bowl on the final end. The jack went into the ditch where Stratford had a back bowl.

On the other side of the draw the miserable run of Val Smith (Merrylands) and Jo Edwards (United) continued when they bowed out.

Inch accounted for Smith 21-19 in the first round, while Edwards, after an opening bye, was beaten 21-19 by her niece-in-law by marriage Kirsten Edwards (United) 21-19 in the third round.

The performance by Inch was particularly impressive. She was the only player required to play four rounds. In the last eight she was too steady for Kirsten Edwards, winning 21-12, having led 15-3 earlier in the match. Promising players Nicole Toomey (Victoria) and Ashleigh Jeffcoat (Frankton Junction) also fell to Inch during the day.

Goddard, who won a bronze medal at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, beat Johnsonville’s Dale Rayner 21-18 in the remaining quarterfinal.

Defending champions Ali and Neville Forsyth are on track to defend their pairs title at the New Zealand bowls champions in New Plymouth after a commanding day on Wednesday.

Ali, based in Australia but playing under the Nelson banner, and Neville, of Nelson’s Stoke club, entered the last eight of the pairs after they eliminated Takaro’s Mark Noble and Barry Wynks 17-8 in the third round.

In the quarterfinals, scheduled for Saturday, the Forsyths meet Laurie Guy and Jeremy Kydd (Victoria). The men from the capital edged out Pt Chevalier’s Steve Hoeft and Phil Aitken 19-18 in the third round.

Two other last 16 matches were also separated by just one point, with Ray Park and Alan Dickson (Wanganui) beating Stu Settle and Bruce Milne (Hinuera) 16-15, while Gary Lawson (Sumner) and Neville Rodda (Victoria) defeated 2015 champions Rob Ashton and Petar Sain (Carlton Cornwall) by the same score.

Park and Dickson meet Opunake brothers Kevin and Paddy Deegan, after they beat Palmerston North’s Robert Thomson and Colin Cherri 18-13 in the third round.

Lawson and Rodda will have the opportunity to gain some revenge on Scott Harrison (Balmoral) and David Ball (Mt Wellington) when they meet in the quarterfinals. The Aucklanders were victorious in a section play match between the two sides.

The other two quarterfinalists are Chris Le Lievre (Glenroy) and Roger Stevens (Waikiwi) and Colin Gawith and Karl Garrett (Coromandel).

At a glance

Results of post-section play in the women’s singles at the New Zealand Bowls Championships in New Plymouth on Wednesday.

Round 1: A Jeffcoat (Frankton Junction) 21 A Motu (Pt Chevalier) 14, K Inch (Oxford WMC) 21 V Smith (Merrylands) 19, N Toomey (Victoria) 21 C Andrews (Paritutu) 7.

Round 2: N Grimshaw (Papakura) 21 S Winter (West End) 5, S Goddard (Carlton Cornwall) 21 L White (Naenae) 11, D Rayner (Johnsonville) 21 S Cottam (West End) 15, J Stockford (Pt Chevalier) 21 E Hickey (Carlton Cornwall) 16, K Edwards (United) 21 K Stampa (Hawera Park) 11, J Edwards (United) 21 A Brophy (New Plymouth) 7, Jeffcoat 21 A Boyd (Burnside) 9, Inch 21 Toomey 17, R Stratford (Aramoho) 21 Y Hardy (New Plymouth) 9, L Poulson (Pukekohe) 21 S Curran (St Heliers) 13, D Wilford (Paritutu) 21 G Melrose (Papakura) 13, S Scott (North East Valley) 21 R Jelley (Carlton Cornwall) 20, T Bruce (Burnside) 21 L Stewart (Hikurangi) 7, F Bryant (Hillcrest) 21 L Mills (Kensington) 16, L Griffin (Victoria) 21 R Hammond (Katikati) 19, C Bien (St Heliers) 21 B Batley (Paritutu) 18. Round 3: Goddard 21 Grimshaw 19, Rayner 21 Stockford 10, K Edwards 21 J Edwards 19, Inch 21 Jeffcoat 17, Stratford 21 Poulson 11, Scott 21 Wilford 17, Bruce 21 Bryant 5, Bien 21 Griffin 5. Round 4: Goddard 21 Rayner 18, Inch 21 K Edwards 12, Stratford 21 Scott 19, Bien 21 Bruce 18.

Results of post-section play in the men’s pairs.

Round 1: C Gawith (Coromandel) 18 I Mahoney (Central Levin) 16, K Fitness (Hikurangi) 25 B Candy (Fitzroy) 7, S Roberts (Nolantown) 17 J D Linn (West End) 9, G O’Sullivan (Inglewood) 16 G Ruane (Victoria) 14, G Lilley (West End) 17 G McEldowney (New Plymouth) 7, C Le Lievre (Glenroy) 14 P Belliss (Aramoho) 13, G Down (Plimmerton) 22 T Taiaroa (West End, Timaru) 10, R Ashton (Carlton Cornwall) 17 T Wood (Ringwood) 16, K Addley (Naenae) 19 N Hill (Onehunga & Districts) 15, G Lawson (Sumner) 20 D Bennett (West End) 7, S Harrison (Balmoral) 18 T Rayner (Tawa) 17, R Martin (Victoria) 18 N Fisher (Howick) 17, W Marsic (Carlton Cornwall) 16 C Lander (Sorrento) 11, C Gush (Northern) 19 B Looker (Terrace End) 9, K Deegan (Opunake) 20 P Sorensen (Napier) 8, J Hill (Eastbourne) 16 J Russell (Glen Eden) 14, B Robertson (Helensville) 19 S McCartain (Gate Pa) 7, C Cherri (Palmerston North) 17 J Horwell (Kaikorai) 10, P Skoglund (Eastbourne) 20 S Mitchell (Hikurangi) 13, R Park (Wanganui) 15 C MacDonnell (Riverside) 11, P Taylor (Bridge Park) 22 H Nalder (Nelson) 8, B Baldwin (Paritutu) 15 S Settle (Hinuera) 14, D Drummond (Hastings) 19 J Brosnan (Glen Eden) 7, L Guy (Victoria) 17 J Cottam (Paritutu) 16, R Gregory (Hinuera) 19 A Johnston (Johnston Park) 10, S Hoeft (Pt Chevalier) 17 W Bellringer (New Plymouth) 15, A Forsyth (Nelson) 24 D Brophy (Fitzroy) 11, C Johns (West End) 24 T Osment (Te Awamutu) 6, R Girvan (Onehunga) 16 L Newman (Victoria) 9, M Noble (Takaro) 16 G Murfitt (West End) 9.

Round 2: R Greaney (Elmwood) 21 C Barrett (Inglewood) 8, Gawith 21 Fitness 13, Roberts 14 O’Sullivan 11, Le Lievre 20 Lilley 6, Ashton 22 Down 1, Lawson 24 Addley 15, Harrison 19 Martin 16, Marsic 15 Gush 14, Deegan 15 Hill 13, Cherri 17 Robertson 5, Park 14 Skoglund 13, Settle 23 Taylor 19, Guy 23 Drummond 8, Hoeft 19 Gregory 11, Forsyth 19 Johns 8, Noble 23 Girvan 6. Round 3: Gawith 20 Greaney 8, Le Lievre 18 Roberts 7, Lawson 16 Ashton 15, Harrison 18 Marsic 8, Deegan 18 Cherri 13, Park 16 Settle 15, Guy 19 Hoeft 18, Forsyth 17 Noble 8.

Stuart Settle bowls for Hinuera. Photo Supplied