Written by Dale Budge for nzherald.co.nz
Finalists have been found in all disciplines at the Bowls New Zealand National Championships in New Plymouth on Friday.
The story of the day was the stunning display by little-known Wanganui bowler Denise Taylor and teammate Dot Bellis in the women’s pairs.
Taylor, a former New Zealand cycling representative, is only a third-year bowler and came to these National Champs hoping to gain some experience on the big stage. She over-achieved – progressing all the way to the gold medal match and beating some quality opponents in doing so. They needed and extra end to sneak past New Plymouth’s Val McEldowney and Margie Carey in the quarterfinals and then edged Estelle Hickey and Val Keightley in the semifinals.
Taylor and Bellis will face Dale Rayner and Ashleigh Jeffcoat in the gold medal match. Rayner’s composite pair enjoyed a 21-18 win over Reen Stratford and Linda Ralph in the semifinals.
The highly-favoured women’s four of Jo Edwards, Val Smith, Kirsten Edwards and Tayla Bruce had a narrow 18-17 win over Ann Loveridge, Marilyn Constantine, Dianne Patterson and Robin Rintoul to book their place in the gold medal match.
Edwards had to call on all her experience and ability to produce a clutch bowl with the scores tied at 17-17 on the final end and Edwards down a shot with her last bowl to play.
She masterfully drove Loveridge’s bowl out of the way. Loveridge was agonizingly close with her final bowl to stealing it back but Edwards will continue to her second straight National Champs fours final.
Her opponent in the decider will be the experienced Lisa White who, along with teammates Jessie Macaw, Natasha Russell, Kimberley Hemingway, saw off the challenge of Sarah Scott’s composite team in the semifinals.
West End’s Dean Elgar, Gerry O’Sullivan, Neil Candy, John Garrud upset the Australian-based men’s four of Ali Forsyth, Tony Wood, Paul Titcombe, John Young 19-17 in the semifinals. In the second semifinal veteran Peter Bellis’s four advanced to the gold medal match over Dean Drummond’s composite side.
Saturday’s action sees the men’s and women’s fours champions crowned while the finalists will be found in the other disciplines with those gold medal matches played Sunday.
Dot Belliss and Denise Taylor