The men’s and women’s semi-finalists have been found at the 2019 National Intercentre in Auckland, with both defending champions Wellington (men) and Canterbury (women) surprisingly bowing out in their respective sections – leaving the competition wide open in both fields.
Hosted at the Howick and Carlton Cornwall greens on Saturday afternoon, the quarter-finals got underway, showcasing the top two centres from each section bidding for provincial supremacy.
Following section play, the men’s qualifiers were Manawatu, Hawkes Bay, Canterbury, Taranaki, Nelson, Central Otago, Southland and Counties Manukau, while the women’s field saw Thames Valley, North Harbour, Waikato, Nelson, Wellington, Central Otago, Auckland and Northland progress through.
In the shock result of the competition, last year’s runner-ups Dunedin failed to finish in the top two of their section and had their campaign cut short – despite the unbeaten efforts of New Zealand high performance squad member Mike Kernaghan, who got the better of Taranaki’s Dean Elgar, 25-17 in the final round hitout, amassing 15 of Dunedin’s 21 game points.
Elgar’s Taranaki side, former intercentre champions in their own right, then found themselves up against a star-studded Canterbury line up, with dual world champion Gary Lawson continuing his irrepressible season form in the pairs, skipping Nathan Glasson to an unbeaten streak – and making light work of their quarter-finals appearance, 16-9.
Fellow New Zealand squad member Andrew Kelly, who had lost only one game opposite Central Otago’s Shaun Scott, continued his fine form, leading 19-16 against Elgar before halting play courtesy of the 19-5 victory in the fours in Canterbury’s favour – with Lance Pascoe, Kelvin Scott, Paul Matheson and Richard Hocking rendering the final result in the singles irrelevant.
In other results, Manawatu advanced to the semi-final following their win opposite Hawkes Bay, Nelson put a stop to Central Otago’s chances by winning the pairs and fours and Southland proved far too strong against Counties Manukau, comfortably taking the singles and pairs to advance, 2-1.
Meanwhile, it was celebrations all round for the North Harbour women after their 2-1 victory opposite Thames Valley with former New Zealand internationals Selina Goddard and Wendy Jensen spearheading the campaign charge. Goddard, this year’s national singles runner-up, displayed a commanding performance against the Valley’s Lindsay Nicholls, while Jensen appeared back to her representative best, skipping Anne Dorreen to a hard-fought win in the pairs, 15-12.
Across rinks, Nelson’s powerhouse contingent featuring former New Zealand stars Kirsten Edwards, Amy McIlroy and Leigh Griffin, to name only a few, outclassed their Waikato counterparts, with wins in the pairs and fours enough to keep their tournament hopes alive.
The remaining quarter-finals action saw the Wellington line-up post a clean sweep against a formidable Central Otago side, with former Commonwealth Games representative Lisa White particularly impressive in her singles victory, 25-10 – while Auckland were left to negotiate a strong challenge opposite their Northland neighbours, with convincing displays in the singles and fours proving enough for the hometown hopefuls.
All semi-finals will be played at the event headquarters at Howick Bowling Club on Sunday, with some blockbuster games lined up for the final day of the National Intercentre as the powerhouse centres loom large at the business end of the competition.
*For full quarter-finals results and section charts, visit; https://bowlsnewzealand.co.nz/national-intercentre/
Bowls New Zealand 2019 National
Sunday, March 24 – Howick Bowling Club, Auckland
Nelson vs Southland
North Harbour vs Nelson
Wellington vs Auckland