In the barest of margins, somewhat decided by a tie-break finish, the South have taken out the ultimate Island Supremacy, holding tough to win the inaugural honours in spectacular fashion. In a competition that came down to the wire, the eagerly anticipated North vs South encounter held at the Hopes Dunedin Lawn Bowls Stadium proved to be a memorable showcase, featuring the country’s best talent and playing host to many fantastic performances across the “big blue” carpet.
Though after 16 games, it was the South that emerged victorious, successfully retaining their overnight leaders’ status and holding the North at arm’s length throughout day two . . . right to the final bowl. Continuing their winning ways early doors, the South combinations wrapped up three of the four mixed pairs fixtures, with only Leanne Poulson and Mark Noble registering a win for the North opposite Pam Walker and Jonty Horwell in straight sets, 9-5, 8-5.
Other results saw the pairings of Tayla Bruce and Kelvin Scott, Sarah Scott and Mike Kernaghan and Val Smith and Andrew Kelly defeat their Northern counterparts, stretching the competition lead to 14-8.
However, with two fours’ fixtures left to conclude the event and a possible eight points on the line for the North, it was game on and a sure-fire time to lift the intensity.
An impressive line-up of Mark Noble, Seamus Curtin, Nicole Toomey and Linda Ralph proved too strong for Mike Kernaghan and his charges Val Smith, Pam Walker and Jonty Horwell – with Noble and Co taking the game in straight sets and sending all eyes to the tie-breaker finish on the adjacent rink.
With one set apiece, the result of the event lay firmly with the tie-break winner between Andrew Kelly, Kelvin Scott, Sarah Scott and Tayla Bruce and Mike Galloway, Tony Grantham, Leanne Poulson and Selina Goddard – with Kelly and team holding strong for the overall win and sending the inaugural spoils the way of the South.
In closing, South’s non-playing captain and selector Dave Edwards was full of praise for his team, simply pointing out his only instruction for the side prior to the weekend’s play was to “have fun”. “Well done guys, what a fantastic effort.
You all looked like you were having plenty of laughs out there and playing with a smile on your face . . . and that’s what this is all about,” Edwards said. “To the North, there was some epic games out there, well done guys.
To the stadium team, umpires, kitchen staff, bar staff, Bowls New Zealand and the teams themselves, thanks for putting on such a great event for us all . . . we’ve really bought into it big time and it’s been great.” The North vs South showdown will return to the calendar next year, with a proposed venue to be Bowls Hastings.
RESULTS AT A GLANCE
NORTH VS SOUTH 2022, DUNEDIN
South def North: 18-12
Pairs Game 11: Linda Ralph, Mike Galloway VS. Tayla Bruce, Kelvin Scott WON BY TAYLA BRUCE, KELVIN
SCOTT, 8-3, 0-12, 1-0
Pairs Game 12: Leeane Poulson, Mark Noble VS. Pam Walker, Jonty Horwell WON BY LEEANE POULSON, MARK
NOBLE, 9-5, 8-5
Pairs Game 13: Nicole Toomey, Seamus Curtin VS. Sarah Scott, Mike Kernaghan WON BY SARAH SCOTT, MIKE
Pairs Game 14: Selina Goddard, Tony Grantham VS. Val Smith, Andrew Kelly WON BY VAL SMITH, ANDREW
KELLY 6-1, 9-4
Fours Game 15: M.Noble, S.Curtin, N.Toomey, L.Ralph VS. M.Kernaghan, V.Smith, P.Walker, J.Horwell WON BY
M.Noble, S.Curtin, N.Toomey, L.Ralph 6-3, 5-3
Fours Game 16: M.Galloway, T.Grantham, L.Poulson, S.Goddard VS. A.Kelly, K.Scott, S.Scott, T.Bruce WON BY
A.Kelly, K.Scott, S.Scott, T.Bruce 7-3, 4-5, 1-1
1pt for each singles win, 2pts for each pairs win, 3pts for each triples win, 4pts for each fours win.