McLeay Four Finish Strong to take Silverware


The home side of Jan McLeay, Elizabeth Maxwell, Dawn Spackman and Kathy Webb reversed a small deficit to take out the 2019 Bay of Plenty Women’s Fours.

Hosted at the Arawa Bowling Club in Rotorua, 32 teams arrived for section play, with four wins out of six enough to advance to post-section play.

Following the qualifying rounds on the opening three days, 13 sides remained alive for an assault on the title, while 16 other sides took the opportunity to play in the Consolation Event.

The event, which is now in its 59th year, is an official Bowls New Zealand Summer of Bowls endorsed competition, with teams travelling from within and outside the Bay of Plenty to mix it with some of the best around.

Event organiser Diane Smith was thrilled with the way the tournament had panned out, beating the inclement weather by a matter of ends in the final.

“We got through it well and the girls had just finished when the rain started coming down, it was a great final and I know Jan and her team were chuffed to have won – they all played really well.”

The final saw Arawa skip McLeay trailing for the most part of the game opposite Mount Maunganui’s Ann Loomb, though a much needed five shot collect provided the impetus required to overturn the scoreboard and run home champions, 19-14.

Beaten semi-finalists included the sides skipped by Katikati’s Anne Mahon and the composite-based Margaret Reed, while Paritutu’s Cathy Andrews, Arawa’s Suzanne Meek, Manurewa’s Karen Forrest and Martie Sisson all bowed out in the last eight.

Smith was hoping to make next year’s 60th celebration one to remember, with previous winners likely to be contacted to take part in the memorable occasion, along with this year’s field.

“At one point there, we were struggling for numbers, but to get 32 teams for this year, we’re so pleased to keep it running,” she said.

“We’re looking to get a big one in place for next year . . . 60 years is a great achievement. It’s always a lot of hard work to keep these tournaments ticking over, but when you receive a lot of lovely feedback and have players come up and say they thoroughly enjoy themselves . .  that’s what bowls is all about and that in itself is so worthwhile.”

The Bay of Plenty Women’s March Fours will return in 2020, with all interested skips to contact Diane Smith (Arawa Bowling Club) to register a team for next year’s showpiece.

-Sam Morton