West End prove too good in Taranaki men’s bowls interclub event

West End have run out comfortable winners of the Taranaki men’s bowls division one interclub event. The West End Blue side has headed home the 10-team field on 42 points, with Paritutu, the champions of the past four seasons, second on 34 and West End White third on 33. West End Blue’s powerful singles and pairs disciplines paved the way on Saturday for their victory at Stratford-Avon. Dean Elgar won his three games, to finish with eight wins from nine rounds, while the Taranaki representative duo of John Roberts and Craig Johns also won all three games. They finished with seven wins overall. John Sexton’s four, weakened on Saturday, concluded with five wins and two draws. Darren Goodin (Paritutu) had the distinction of winning all nine games of singles to be the best performed player in the event. Jordan Linn and Steve Walker (West End White) recorded seven wins and one draw in the pairs, while Wayne Hawkes and Bruce Hall (Vogeltown) had seven wins. The best of the fours combinations was the Alton quartet skipped by Mark Anderson that had six wins and one draw. Tower finished bottom of the ladder and have been relegated to the second division for next season. Their place in the top flight will be taken by Stratford-Avon, who defeated Paritutu 2-1 in the second division final at West End on Saturday. Despite Malcolm Hoskin losing to John Cottam in the singles, John Forde and Paul Digby took the pairs and John Sextus, Colin Jones, Maurie Stieller and Kevin Mischefski won the fours.

❑ Stratford-Avon hosts the Taranaki women’s open pairs this weekend, with the final scheduled for Monday. There are 40 teams in the event, including last year’s champions, Yvonne Hallard and Gale Fache (Vogeltown).

❑ Bowls Taranaki chairman Brien Bennett has announced that in response to the surge in first-year players this season, a Taranaki singles event for the newcomers will be held later in the season. “We are endeavouring to finalise a date, in either March or April. We have been delighted with the way many clubs have embraced the drive for new members, with more than 70 signed up so far this season.”

❑ Alton’s annual two-day classic was won this season by a composite South Taranaki side of Brendan Anderson, Clive Phillips, Mark Kuklinski and Scott Roberts. Alistair Hurley, Bruce Phillips, John Roberts and Mark Anderson were second, with the defending champions Alex McKay, Midge Shaw, Dennis Osborne and Garry Murfitt finishing third. Meanwhile, a large contingent of Taranaki teams competed in the popular Wanganui East women’s classic last week. Paritutu’s Cathy Andrews, Barbara Batley, Margie Davis and Val Keightley took out top prize, with third going to a Hawera Park side headed by Kristin Stampa.

❑ While entry numbers for this season’s Dominion, to be held in Dunedin, have yet to be released, when the draw becomes known there will be plenty of cynics rushing in with the reason why numbers are so small. Last season, the women’s fours was won by a virtual New Zealand side in Tayla Bruce, Kirsten Edwards, Val Smith and Jo Edwards. Among the men’s entries this season is a side comprising Justin Goodwin, Shannon McIlroy, Gary Lawson and Ali Forsyth, all past singles winners. We will be told that stacked composite sides is the reason why the club bowlers don’t attend the nationals anymore. But the majority of those club bowlers in the next breath will go and stack their own teams for club and centre events.

– Article courtesy of Grant Hassall, Taranaki Daily News, 04/12/17

Inglewood claim Taranaki women’s open triples bowls title

Inglewood’s Lorraine Crofskey, Loris Ropitini and Cindy Nicoll won the Taranaki women’s open triples bowls title at Hawera Park on Monday. The trio were too consistent in the final of the Abraham’s Funeral Home-sponsored event, defeating Paritutu’s Marlene McArthur, Marlene Barrowman and Heather Johns 23-15. The Nicoll-skipped side dominated the first half of the game, leading 17-6 after 12 ends. The margin was still comfortable three ends later, with Nicoll up 19-9. However, Johns’ side won the next three ends, reducing the deficit to six shots with three heads remaining. However, it was Inglewood’s day, and a brace on the next gave them some breathing space. Paritutu replied with a two, but it couldn’t find the maximum six on the final end to level the match. The victory was Crofskey’s third Taranaki title, Ropitini’s fourth and Nicoll’s second. In the semifinals, Nicoll overcame Hawera Park’s Ruth Vendt, Pauline Kennedy and Kristin Stampa 19-13, with Johns accounting for Vogeltown’s Val Webster, Yvonne Hallard and Gale Fache 19-12.

❑ West End have grabbed the initiative in the TSB Realty-sponsored men’s division one competition after a successful day on their own greens on Sunday. West End Blue lead the 10-team field with 27 points, three clear of West End White. Defending champions Paritutu share third spot with Inglewood, on 22, while Alton, 21, remain an outside chance with the final three rounds due to be played on Saturday at Stratford-Avon. Dean Elgar, the West End Blue singles player, recorded two further wins, to add to his three triumphs on the opening day. But he was beaten 25-13 by Darren Goodin, who remains the only player to have won all six games. After a forgettable first day, John Roberts and Craig Johns gave West End Blue three wins in the pairs, while John Sexton’s four had one win and one draw. West End white progressed into second place after Dave Wilson won all three on Sunday, Jordan Linn and Steve Walker added two more victories to their three from the opening day, and Gary Murfitt’s quartet also won twice. Inglewood, the leader from the first day, faulted winning only three from nine, two of those coming in the singles from Gerry O’Sullivan.

– Article courtesy of Grant Hassall, Taranaki Daily News, 27/11/17

Paritutu come from behind to win Taranaki women’s bowls division one interclub title

Paritutu have come from behind to win the Taranaki women’s bowls division one interclub title. After Ōpūnake had led the field into the final two rounds on Sunday, Paritutu levelled after winning five games from six and took the overall honours on differential. Both clubs finished the Vospers-sponsored event on 26 points, but from the seven rounds, Paritutu accumulated 31 net shots compared to Ōpūnake’s 12. A change in the player order worked a treat for Paritutu, which has twice previously won the New Zealand title, in 2005 and 2016. Cathy Andrews moved to the singles, winning both her games, as did the mother-and-daughter pair of Barbara Batley and Bridget Fletcher. Heather Johns’ four of Berys Norgate, Val Keightley and Gloria Shaw ended the event with six wins, as did Ōpūnake singles player Chris Commane. Meanwhile, West End took out the second division, finishing with 34 points, three clear of second-placed Fitzroy. With the victory, West End will be promoted into division one next season.

❑ Inglewood were the surprise leaders after the first three rounds were completed in the TSB Realty-sponsored men’s division one interclub for the Bill Smee Trophy at Vogeltown on Sunday. They have 16 points after winning eight matches from nine, while West End Blue (14) and Paritutu (12) round out the top three in the 10-team competition. Brothers Gerry and Danny O’Sullivan and Eric Foreman all picked up three wins for the leaders, with the singles and pairs duties split between the trio. World champion-of-champions runner-up Dean Elgar posted three wins for West End Blue, as did its four of Norm Broughton, Bruce Lilley, John Garrud and John Sexton. Paritutu, the champion of the past four years, continued to get great service from Darren Goodin in the singles, after he posted three wins.

❑ Tuesday is the second day’s play in the 54th Bacardi Cup men’s fours event at Fitzroy, with the finals scheduled to be held early on Wednesday afternoon. The tournament requires at least two members per side to have had a specific involvement in the hospitality sector and has drawn 28 teams from all over New Zealand. Included in the field is the Taieri terror, Charlie Burrell, who has remarkably played in all 53 prior tournaments, and Francis Monopoli (Nelson) who skipped the winning team 12 months ago. Four past New Zealand representatives – Ken Walker, Richard Collett, Glenn McDonald and Neville Hill – are also taking part along with another noted sporting identity, Alex Wyllie.

– Article courtesy of Grant Hassall, Taranaki Daily News, 20/11/17

Taranaki bowls team finds success in Wanganui

Wanganui proved a happy hunting ground for the Taranaki representative bowls teams on Saturday, with the province winning three of the four divisions in the quadrangular fixture. The senior Taranaki men won, as did the academy sides in both the men’s and women’s sections. Wanganui won the senior women’s event, with Taranaki third. In the senior men’s event, Revital Fertilisers Taranaki secured 20 points, being 10 wins from 15 games. Manawatu (18) were second, followed by Wanganui (14) and Wairarapa (8). The outstanding individual effort came from the experienced pair of John Roberts and Craig Johns. They beat Paul Manning, the 1995 Dominion pairs finalist, and Wairarapa’s finest, Ian Monaghan, 17-12, first up. Roberts and Johns then accounted for Scotty McGavin and Pat Horgan (Manawatu) 19-12 and Alan Dickson and Ray Park (Wanganui) 19-14. Darren Goodin had two wins in the singles, beating Shane Rogers (Manawatu) and Cary Pinker (Wanganui) but falling to Scott McKenzie (Wairarapa). The new fours combination of John Garrud, Steve Walker, Gerry O’Sullivan and Mark Anderson also won twice, as did the second pair of Jordan Linn and Scott Roberts. Ian Lowry had one win in the second singles. “It was one of the best all-round performances I’ve seen from a team,” selector Alex McKay concluded of the triumph on the slick Aramoho greens. The blustery conditions didn’t suit the senior women as well, with the head-and-tail wind knocking consistency. Wanganui (20) headed off Manawatu (16), Taranaki (15), which represented a 50% return, and Wairarapa (9). Chris Commane continued her excellent form combining with Val McEldowney to score a trifecta of wins in the second pairs. The four of Anne Duggan, Faye Gecse, Maree Gadsby and skip Gale Fache had one win and one draw, while the other three disciplines all had one win and two losses – singles players Rhonda Adams and Cathy Andrews and the first pair of Gloria Shaw and Kristin Stampa. The men’s academy side put on a fine performance, winning six and drawing two of its nine games, giving it 14 points. Wanganui was closest of the rest on 12. Kelly Hill was dominant in the singles, winning 25-6, 25-8 and 25-15, while the four of Brendan Anderson, Paddy Deegan, Robbie Brown and Danny O’Sullivan had two wins and one draw. Steve Sabine and Vini Purcell had one win and one draw in the pairs. Differential gave Taranaki the edge in the women’s academy section, after it and Manawatu were both locked on 10 points. Faye Hill, Jill Dyett, Leeanne Halls and Sharlene Healey were the pick of the Taranaki side, posting three wins. Bridget Fletcher and Susan Cottam won their first two before the former was swapped to the singles in the last round.

– Article courtesy of Grant Hassall, Taranaki Daily News, 19/11/17

Ōpūnake take two-point lead in Taranaki women’s interclub bowls

The Taranaki women’s division one interclub title remains wide open after five rounds were completed over the weekend. Ōpūnake lead the way having recorded 10 victories from 15 games which has them on 20 points – two clear of defending champions Tower. Paritutu Green and New Plymouth, who are both on 16, are both still very much in contention. The final two rounds will be played this Sunday at Stratford-Avon. Open singles runner-up Chris Commane and the pair of Nell L’Ami and the evergreen Joy Collins laid the foundation for Ōpūnake’s advantage, with both combinations finishing with four wins from five games. Tower’s best contribution came from its pair of Betty Fraser and Faye Hopkins which had four wins. Heather Johns’ Paritutu quartet of Berys Norgate, Val Keightley and Gloria Shaw were the only combination to record five-straight wins from the weekend. The other notable effort came from the Lepperton four of Carol Pearce, Jean Haggerty, June Ward and Ellie Goble. They had four wins. In the second division, West End holds a slender lead over Fitzroy ahead of the final two rounds at Tower this Sunday.

❑ The men’s interclub competition commences this Sunday. Paritutu are gunning for a fifth successive victory in the first division for the Bill Smee Trophy, but will expect strong opposition from two good West End sides, desperate to correct a seven-year hiatus, while Alton should also be competitive. The first division is at Hawera Park, with the second division at West End (amber) and Fitzroy (black), and the third division at Paritutu.

– Article courtesy of Grant Hassall, Taranaki Daily News, 14/11/17

Taranaki bowls team named

The Taranaki representative bowls sides to compete in Wanganui next Saturday have been released and both are impressive lineups. Joy Clouston’s women’s side sees Rhonda Adams and Cathy Andrews playing the singles, with Gloria Shaw and Kristin Stampa combining in one pair. Chris Commane and Val McEldowney are the second pair. The four is Anne Duggan, Faye Gecse, Maree Gadsby and skip Gale Fache. Like the men, the women will compete against Wanganui, Manawatu and Wairarapa. The academy team includes Sue Winter (singles), Bridget Fletcher and Susan Cottam (pairs), and Faye Hill, Jill Dyett, Leeanne Halls and Sharlene Healey (fours). The notable feature of the Revital Fertilisers men’s side is the absence of Dean Elgar. He declared his unavailability for this fixture prior to heading to Australia, where he performed with great distinction in making the world final. The two singles berths this time go to Darren Goodin and Ian Lowry. In a predictable squad, John Roberts and Craig Johns reunite in one pair, with youngsters Jordan Linn and Scott Roberts the other. The four comprises John Garrud, Steve Walker, Gerry O’Sullivan and skip Mark Anderson. The men’s academy side sees Kelly Hill (singles), Steve Sabine and Vini Purcell (pairs), and Brendan Anderson, Paddy Deegan, Robbie Brown and Danny O’Sullivan (fours).

* The Vospers-sponsored women’s interclub competition gets underway this weekend. The division one section plays at Tower on Saturday and Paritutu on Sunday, with the division two at Stratford-Avon on Saturday and West End on Sunday. Last year’s division one champions, Hawera, of course this time will play under the Tower banner.
Paritutu, last season’s division two winners, have two sides in the top flight.

* Barry Agnew’s sudden death on Thursday morning has denied the province of one of the biggest stalwarts of the game, an innovative thinker and one of it’s finest ever greenkeepers. Agnew actually started his bowls at Pihama, just over 40 years ago, but it was at Okato where he made his name. He was instrumental in making the Okato green regularly the best in Taranaki, and that expertise was widely used by many other clubs to their advantage. Agnew served on the Taranaki executive and was mindful of the need for change. The relatively new pennants competition was one such change he played a key role in. Agnew was also a very able player. At his peak, his forehand drive was without peer, he represented the province and also won a centre title in both Taranaki and Gisborne-East Coast.

– Article courtesy of Grant Hassall, Taranaki Daily News, 09/11/17

Elgar’s world bowls bid comes up short

Dean Elgar’s brave bid to become the world bowls champion has come up short – but only after a superb effort in making it to the final. Elgar, of New Plymouth’s West End club, turned on an outstanding display on Friday and Saturday to make the final of the world champion-of-champions singles at the St Johns Park, New South Wales. But Sunday’s final, against Australia’s Aaron Teys, was a step too far for Elgar, with Teys dominating the match to win 12-1, 8-4. “It was disappointing to go like that,” Elgar said shortly after the final. “Overall, I’ve played very well, but today I just couldn’t pick it. We had a lot of overnight rain and I thought it would have been heavier, but I kept going through the head.” After dropping a three but gaining a single from the first two ends, of nine scheduled, in the opening set, Elgar was in touch. But Teys then applied the pressure drawing consistently well and moving the jack around when Elgar held shots to win the remaining ends in the set. Elgar started the second set better, scoring a brace. But Teys won the next four ends with seven points to lead 7-2. Elgar pulled a single back and held a further shot on the seventh end but turned Teys bowl in for shot, which ended his chase. “If you had said to me two days ago ‘here is a silver medal’ I would have taken it,” Elgar said. “I had to play like yesterday but it wasn’t to be.” To make the final, Elgar won six-straight games. In section play on Thursday, he had a win, a loss and a win. That meant he needed three wins from as many games on Friday to make the top three of his pool. He did that with some class, including the scalp of the David Kingdom (Wales), who finished top of the pool and lost in the semifinals to Teys. That put Elgar into the last six. In the preliminary final on Saturday morning, Elgar beat Barry Kane (Ireland) 7-4, 7-7. He then accounted for Scotland’s Derek Oliver 10-5, 10-7 in an excellent display in the semifinals. Elgar’s invitation to the world event followed his victory in the New Zealand singles, which was held in New Plymouth in January.

– Article courtesy of Grant Hassall, Taranaki Daily News, 05/11/17

Murfitt survives late fightback to win open fours

Garry Murfitt’s quartet was able to withhold a late fightback from Jocky Bright’s side to claim the Taranaki men’s centre fours title in an all-West End final at Hawera Park on Saturday. Murfitt and his team won the final of the South Taranaki Club-sponsored event 17-16 after a titanic struggle. The first third of the 18-end game was relatively even, with Murfitt ahead 8-6 after six ends. But the Murfitt side of Steve Temperton, Alex McKay and Dennis Osborne dominated the middle of the match. With Temperton, a third year player who has just transferred from Hawera Park, leading well, Murfitt opened up a commanding 17-8 lead. But Bright and his team of Tony Penn, Jim Rowe and Bryce Koch fought to the end, winning the remaining six heads but it wasn’t quite enough. Murfitt led by two shots playing the last end. Temperton was handy, giving Murfitt the early advantage until Koch drew the shot. However, the necessary second shot didn’t come, giving Temperton his first Taranaki title, McKay and Murfitt their second each and Osborne his sixth. Murfitt was incredibly lucky to make the final, beating a Hawera Park four entered under Grant Mudgway and skipped by Kearin Pollard 20-19. Pollard led 19-10 with two ends remaining, before Murfitt took a five and a four to tie up the game. The West Enders completed the remarkable turnaround by winning the extra end. In the other semifinal, Bright’s team cruised home 20-7 over Rangi Hiroti, in what was the second-straight semifinal appearance for the Inglewood side.

– Article courtesy of Grant Hassall, Taranaki Daily News, 05/11/17

Cathy Andrews claims fifth Taranaki women’s singles bowls title

Paritutu’s Cathy Andrews has scored an unprecedented fifth victory in nine years in the Taranaki women’s open singles bowls event. Andrews, a former New Zealand representative, has now won 11 Taranaki titles and based on Sunday’s triumph, she still has plenty more shots left in her. In the final Andrews beat Opunake’s Chris Commane 21-12. While Commane opened with a brace in the final, a four to Andrews on the fourth end set the tone for the match. Commane scored on 10 of the 19 ends, but only two of the counts were more than one. Andrews, on the other hand, made the most of her opportunities, collecting two threes and a further four, as she opened up a 16-7 lead. It was too great a deficit for Commane to pull back. It had been a long day for Commane, with some drawn-out games meaning the final did not start until 5pm. In her semifinal against West End’s Susan Cottam, Commane prevailed 21-17. In the other semifinal, Andrews beat Fitzroy’s Rhonda Adams 21-14.

❑ Despite losing a round on Sunday, the men’s centre fours was still expected to be finalised this Saturday at Hawera Park. Only two rounds of post-section were completed after heavy rain in the middle of the day delayed play for two hours. By that point, a number of the leading skips had been eliminated. Grant Mudgway’s Hawera Park squad, which was skipped by Kearin Pollard on Sunday, are the only side through to the semifinals at this stage. They beat Mark Dudley’s Hawera Park team, which was entered under the name of Allan Hunt, 20-5 in the quarterfinals. The only other quarterfinal that has commenced is between two West End sides, Garry Murfitt and Ross Henderson, with the former leading 4-1 after four of the 18 ends. On the other side of the draw, the four quarterfinalists are Rodney Woods (Opunake), Rangi Hiroti (Inglewood), Jocky Bright (West End) and Kevin Hills (Alton). The latter’s side is skipped by Grant Anderson.

– Article courtesy of Grant Hassall, Taranaki Daily News, 30/10/17

Dean Elgar claims back-to-back Taranaki men’s singles bowls titles

West End’s Dean Elgar successfully defended his Taranaki men’s bowls singles title on his home green on Monday in a perfect dress rehearsal for the world champion-of-champions event next week. Elgar leaves for Sydney on Friday, with the world event commencing Monday October 30, and should he exhibit the same form he did over the long weekend, he has every chance of going deep into the competition. Elgar’s excellence as a singles player was clearly evident in the final as he ran out a comfortable 21-10 victor over John Roberts, who was representing Alton. In winning the first four ends, Elgar opened up a 6-0 lead, and while Roberts closed 8-6 behind, that was as good as it got for him. “I’m no singles player,” Roberts said afterwards. “I need others to carry me.” Elgar dominated the next four ends clinching 10 points to make it 18-6. Roberts hung in for a while, but Elgar was too good. “I’d love to take this green over to Sydney with me,” Elgar said. It was his fifth win in the tournament and his 11th Taranaki title in total. Both finalists came from behind in two quality semifinals. Elgar trailed Paritutu’s Darren Goodin 18-13 before a four brought him back into contention. At 20-all, Goodin drew right behind jack with his first bowl, before Elgar, after getting a slide, sat it through. Goodin in turn killed the end and, on the replay, Elgar lodged a front toucher to advance. Roberts was 19-14 down to West End’s Dave Wilson. But he sat through Wilson’s shot bowl for a full house and backed that up with a brace and a single to win 21-19.

– Article courtesy of Grant Hassall, Taranaki Daily News, 23/10/17

Bowls Taranaki hoping to attract new bowlers to the sport this season

Bowls Taranaki has started the new season by setting a goal of attracting 100 first year players for the new season. Chairman Brien Bennett QSM said it was a tough target to achieve, but that the centre and clubs had the resources to reach triple figures. “Last year we had 38 new bowlers. But we are determined to align more closely with the clubs to ensure our sport has a brighter future,” he said. “That has already started and this push is the first of what will become a number of initiatives or changes introduced by the Towards 2020 committee.” The Towards 2020 committee is largely made up of existing board members who have been tasked with ensuring bowls in Taranaki is in the correct shape by the year 2020. “It is an exciting time for the sport. I only wish I was 40 years younger.”

❑ Taranaki finished second and fourth respectively in the men’s and women’s sections of the central region junior representative hexagonal bowls fixture in Wanganui on 01/10/17. The men, with 21 points out of a possible 40, finished second to Wellington, who won with an emphatic 32. Bruce Lilley, Adyne Jack and Steve Muller were the best of the Taranaki players, each winning four games from five. The women, with 20 points, finished fourth as Hawke’s Bay claimed the title with 28 points. Jill Dyett, Hazel Schwartfeger, Lesley Te Awa, Gina McKenzie and Frances Busby all won three matches from five.

❑ Dean Elgar has started the new season in fine style by recently claiming the prestigious Paraparaumu Beach invitation pairs with Manawatu’s Craig Gush. They nosed out Maurice Symes, formerly of Hawera Park and now of Blenheim, and Simon Hitchcock 15-14 in the final. Following last season’s successes, Elgar steps up onto the international stage at the end of the month competing in the world champion-of-champions at the St Johns club in Sydney. He will play a gruelling 14 section matches, the first against English champion Simon Green, between October 30 and November 3, before the playoff matches follow. Elgar must make the top three in his pool of 15 to face off against the best three in the other group. The world event stated in 2003 and five New Zealanders – Ali Forsyth, Tony Grantham, Jan Khan, Jo Edwards and Sandra Keith – are past winners. Auckland’s Selina Goddard is one of 24 competitors in the women’s section this year.

– Article courtesy of Grant Hassall, Taranaki Daily News, 04/10/17

The Vic Blance School of Excellence held its first day for the latest inductees at Paritutu recently with a wide cross-section of players in attendance, all of whom have been identified as having the potential of playing at representative level. Among the presenters were sports physiologist Rachel Vaughan, Guy Honnor (Sport Taranaki) and former NZ coach John Murtagh. The next session will take place on November 15. Vic Blance School of Excellence for players for 2017/18: Steve Sabine, Robbie Brown, Danny O’Sullivan (Inglewood); Adam Collins, Steve Muller, Bob Anderson, Kurt Smith (Oakura); Adyne Jack, Steve Temperton, Trevor Simpson, Sue Winter, Susan Cottam, Jill Dyett (West End); Ryan Vincent, Bridget Fletcher, Gina McKenzie (Paritutu); Paddy Deegan (Opunake); Laurence Hori, Tobyn Hori (New Plymouth); Brendan Anderson (Alton); Hazel Schwartfeger (Hawera); Cheryl Sharrock, Anne Potaka (Lepperton); Leslie TeAwa (Fitzroy); Bari Oliver (Stratford-Avon).