As the saying goes, ‘cometh the hour, cometh the man’, and no truer phrase was spoken than describing the last bowl winner from Kia Toa’s Jim Vevers, drawing the crucial shot and propelling his side into the quarter-finals of the National Bowls3Five Interclub.
A stellar performance from the Kia Toa Taniwha side see the men and women in red from South Canterbuyr progress through to the last eight of the Bowls New Zealand commissioned competition, following a thrilling win opposite Canterbury representatives, Lincoln on Tuesday night (Mar 26).
Hosted at the neutral ground of Hampstead Bowling Club, both sides travelled to Ashburton in a bid to continue their winning ways from previous rounds in the last 16 and local round robin interclub league, with the respective winner earning a place up against the powerhouse Alexandra contingent, who have previously won their way through in the lower south.
The Kia Toa side of Leo Leonard, John Donaldson and Shona Anderson continued on their winning ways, defeating Lincoln’s Lynton Withell, Bruce Gemmell and Lindsay Withell in the second set, 10-8, after a tied first set, 5-5.
Across rinks, the side of Richie Kerr, Sharon Leonard and Danny Johnston found themselves up against a strong line-up, with Murray Lancaster, Dave Williams and Margaret McDrury putting up a good contest, reflected by a tied first set, 5-5.
But with Leonard’s trio already home and over the line, all eyes were on the team of Jim Vevers, Travis Cook and Jan Williams, who had earlier closed out a dominant first set, 7-3, and found themselves all level playing the final end in the second set opposite Gordon Hope, Jenny Hamilton and Maurice Phiskie.
Despite the jack being in the ditch, Vevers, as he has so often done, drew on all his experience to play the winning bowl and land just a matter of centimetres from the ditch – with Hope unable to dislodge the bowl, gifting Kia Toa the overall win, 2-1 and prompting hugs and high fives all round from their rinkside supporters.
A determined Kerr, who was trailing 8-4 with one end to play in the second set, was eager to chase the four required for a tie-breaker, though with the scores proving irrelevant, play was stopped and Kia Toa began their celebrations.
Team selector and player/manager Kerr said he was delighted for the team that includes a positive mix of several development players and some vast experience, and looked forward to the next stage.
“The greens were brilliant tonight, good guys we played against and conditions were thoroughly enjoyable. It’s always good to look around and see our supporters right behind us too, that helps boost the team and is really appreciated,” Kerr said.
“It’s likely we’re set something up to be played in Dunedin next, but a wee holiday to Queenstown might be nice too – we’ll have to see what can work out . . . there’s not much time..”
Kia Toa will now go on to face Alexandra in the national quarter-final, with the winner progressing through to the final four in the country, where teams will be required to travel to Naenae Bowling Club and contest a round-robin series.
In line with the national requirements, the game must be completed by April 14, with the ultimate prize up for grabs a spot in the popular Bowls3Five televised league replacing the relegated Woodend Jets – with the league set to return to screens in October later this year.
Results at a Glance
National Bowls3Five Interclub, (Last 16)
Kia Toa (South Canterbury) d Lincoln (Canterbury); 2-1
Leo Leonard, John Donaldson, Shona Anderson (Kia Toa) d Lynton Withell, Bruce Gemmell, Lindsay Withell (Lincoln); 5-5, 10-8
Murray Lancaster, Dave Williams, Margaret McDrury (Lincoln) d Richie Kerr, Sharon Leonard, Danny Johnston (Kia Toa); 5-5, 8-4
Jim Vevers, Travis Cook, Jan Williams (Kia Toa) d Gordon Hope, Jenny Hamilton, Maurice Phiskie (Lincoln); 7-3, 5-4