The New Zealand Deaf Bowls team have rounded out an impressive showing at the 8th International Deaf Lawn Bowls Championships in Christchurch, hauling three Gold Medals and finishing second overall.
Hosted by the Burnside Bowling Club, teams from Scotland, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Wales and Australia joined the New Zealand contingent to battle it out for top honour in the men’s and women’s singles, pairs, triples and fours.
The event, now in its eighth instalment, is the pinnacle fixture on the calendar, with the world’s elite deaf bowlers converging for their shot at international glory once every four years.
Leading the medal tally for the New Zealanders, international debutant Hazel Littlejohn and her vastly experienced skipper Barbara Herrick, both of Selwyn, made it an occasion to remember lining up in the triples and fours to claim gold and silver respectively, with singles representative Patricia Hansen rounding out the gold-laden triple, and Carolyn Wilks and Joan Richards comprising the near-victorious quartet.
Not to be outdone, Wilks and Richards excelled in the Women’s Pairs to claim gold, finishing ahead of Australia’s Toni Rose-Robson and Helen Cruden, and alongside Hansen’s bronze efforts in the Women’s Singles, completed a successful campaign for the Kiwi women.
Meanwhile, Canterbury’s John Lavell added to the golden celebrations, taking out the coveted Men’s Singles title, winning the event with an unbeaten five wins from as many starts, ahead of Scotland’s Graham Duff who claimed silver with three wins.
Lavell continued his irrepressible form in the Men’s Pairs, skipping New Zealand debutant Warwick Flintoff, of Te Awamutu, to silver, narrowly missing out to Australia’s Michael Barca and Brian Lockyer, who finished one draw ahead of the Kiwi pairing following their thumping victory 28-4 in what eventuated as a winner took all encounter in the final fixture.
The Men’s Triples and Fours were also taken out by the Australian contingent, with Barca once again to the fore skipping his quartet of Lockyer, George Ravlich and Gregory Strachan to the winner’s podium, while David Ravlich was in equally commanding form skipping the victorious trio.
Continuing Australia’s purple patch, Australia’s Diana Reddick proved too strong in the Women’s Singles, finishing ahead of Scotland’s Carlotte Simpson, while across rinks, it was Australia’s powerhouse four of Kathryn Leese, Robyn Larkin, Helen Cruden and Heather Wilson rounding out the medal tally for the green and gold, wrapping up an unbeaten campaign in the Women’s Fours.
In other results, the New Zealand side of Flintoff, Barry Gernhoefer, Roy Williams and skip Callum Cargo took bronze in the men’s fours, while the trio of Gernhoefer, Williams and Cargo narrowly missed out on a placing in the triples, finishing fourth behind Scotland, Wales and Australia.
As the final bowl came to rest at Burnside, Australia were named the overall top country taking out 25 games, while New Zealand finished a close second with 22 wins. Both trans-tasman contingents appeared to be in a class of their own during the campaign, with the next best country going the way of Scotland who managed 14 wins throughout.
The event was officially drawn to a close on Monday evening with a Farewell Dinner and Presentation at the Elms Hotel.
The 9th International Deaf Bowls Championships will return in 2023, though the host country has yet to be confirmed.