Para Bowlers Shine at Nationals Championships


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The Disabled and the Vision Impaired sections of the Summerset Nationals concluded on Friday and Saturday with the Singles and Pairs Finals being played.

In the B5-8 sections for the Disabled players Graham Skellern (Takapuna) did not let last year's winner Bruce Wakefield (Burnside) into the game, running out a comprehensive winner 21-3. Skellern had won the Summerset National Singles two years ago and Wakefield last season.

In the B5-8 Pairs competition Skellern and Wakefield had played together but their run was stopped in the semi final by the St Clair/Waverley composite pair of Carolyn Crawford and Julie O'Connell in a tight battle 15-13. The other semi final was won by another composite pair of Graham (Snow) Reardon (Burnside) and Steve Walker (Awamoa) who defeated another composite pair of Omakau's Pam Walker who partnered Te Awamutu's Lynda Bennett 17-6. The final saw Crawford and O'Connell continue their dominant performance in winning 20-4.

In the Vision Impaired B1-2 Singles competition it was a battle between two Burnside clubmates Tom Boyd (Gaye Boyd - Director) and Deane Robertson (Kevin Smith - Director). This was a long match taking three and a half hours. Boyd lept out to a 14-4 lead before Robertson doggedly fought his way back to trail 16-14 in the race to 21 shots. Boyd then played two stronger ends to win the Summerset title 21-14.

The B3-4 Vision Impaired singles brought Robertson's pairs skip Don Stephens (Riccarton Racecourse) playing last season's runner up, North East Valley's  Kerrin Wheeler (Colin Wheeler - Director). This was a tight battle with the lead changing several times before Stephen's ran out the winner 21-15 by slightly outplaying Wheeler over the longer ends.

The Vision Impaired Pairs Championship required teams to consist of a B1-2 player partnering a B3-4 player. In this final Robertson and Stephens played the winner from two years ago  (and runners up last year) Gordon Oldfield (Bev Boucher - Director) and Steve Delaney (both from Stoke). Delaney and Oldfield dominated the first half of the game to lead 11-7 before Robertson and Stephen's came home strongly to win 15-12.

These Para Bowlers entertained the spectators at all of the Clubs they played at with their camaraderie and skills. They were certainly true to the ethos of the Blind Bowls Community of that famous John Wooden quote - "Don't let what you can't do, stop you from doing what you can". They all showed that lawn bowling is a wonderful game for all.