Bowls Hastings representative Dean Drummond simply cannot stop winning.
Self-titled tournament ‘underdogs’, Drummond, third year bowler Alex Jones and lead Pam Rowland – who supposedly plays far less than any of her competitors, came through to cast aside any talk of their underdog status in style, progressing through to be crowned the Bowls3Five Interclub Champions on Sunday.
Though, even before the Grand Final at the Naenae complex, the excitement levels had already reached fever pitch with both Bowls Hastings and the star-studded Nelson trio Jo Edwards, Richard Collett and Val Smith winning their way through to next season’s televised Sky Sport Bowls3Five league, courtesy of semi-final victories opposite the New Zealand Parajacks and the Hinuera Heat.
That means, as the time in front of the cameras comes to an end for the Royal Oak Rockets, Hinuera Heat and the New Zealand Parajacks, next season will spark a new era of competition – with all eyes on the debutants, particularly the all-Nelson clash, as Nelson go head-to-head with their friendly neighbours Stoke Thunder.
But for now, this story is all about Drummond, Jones and Rowland – a trio who less than fancied their chances, though through their steely determination and have a go attitude, they negotiated their way through five tie breaks – winning four and pulling off the shot that counts in the final tie-break finale against Nelson to lift the silverware.
“Speechless, unbelievable and yet another tie-break,” Drummond reacted.
“That’s our fifth tie-break for the event, so like I said, we’ve had a few of them and it’s always about staying calm and playing, hopefully a good one.”
The win continues a dream run of form for Drummond, who has not only closed out the local season with five Hawkes Bay’ titles, he has again showed his prowess on the opening weekend of the PBA scene taking out the Scottish Singles and Shanghai Singles qualifiers and just a week later, has skipped his side to a New Zealand title – that’s some season!
Following qualifying play, section winners were Nelson and the New Zealand Parajacks respectively, with Bowls Hastings and Hinuera Heat finishing runner-up – also booking their place in the semi-finals.
A commanding display from Edwards, Collett and Smith showed onlookers exactly why they were pre-tournament favourites up against Hinuera, with Edwards now stepping out of the Bowls3Five commentary box in October and instead applying her skill to the carpeted rinks at New Lynn.
Commenting on the Nelson club’s success this season and qualifying for a place in the televised league, Edwards said; “It means a heap, we’re a little one green club, about 16 ladies there and there’s been a real shift where on green is now as important as off green. They’re (the club) are so much behind us, as you can see from the people that have come up to support us today and we know there’s definitely people back at Nelson Bowling Club watching too.”
Across rinks, Drummond and Co enjoyed their first win without the need for a tie-break end, securing both sets against Mark Noble, Lynda Bennett and Bruce Wakefield, consigning the Parajacks to their only loss for the weekend and stamping their space in the sought-after televised league later this year.
Other teams competing for those places were Takapuna, Taieri, Timaru Town and Country, Auckland, New Plymouth and Royal Oak.
Bowls Hastings and Nelson will now join the Elmwood Park Saints, Gore Rams, Stoke Thunder, Point Chevalier Pirates, Manurewa Kites and the reigning champions Stokes Valley Vipers, as the fourth edition of Bowls3Five kicks off in October on Sky Sport.
RESULTS AT A GLANCE Bowls3Five Interclub Finals Naenae Bowling Club, 12 & 13 June 2021
Semi-Final 1 Hastings defeated Parajacks (5-1 / 8-0)
Semi-Final 2 Nelson defeated Hinuera (4-3 / 7-1)
Final Hastings defeated Nelson on TB (1-6 / 7-1, 1-0)