Mixed pairs to Atkinson and Collins

Paritutu’s Briar Atkinson and Adam Collins are this season’s Tarranaki mixed pairs bowls champions

The duo turned on an impressive performance on the finals day at Paritutu to run out convincing winners of the Cross Country Rentals-sponsored event on Saturday.

In the final, they beat New Plymouth’s Val McEldowney and Kelly Hill 18-8, with the score reflecting the domination of the Paritutu pair. They drew more consistently and placed more bowls around the jack.

New Plymouth did have their moments – including a four on the second end – but after 12 of the scheduled 16 heads, Atkinson and Collins had taken control at 17-5.

McEldowney and Hill gave a brief flicker of hope when they pulled back three shots on the 13th. Their hope for a bonfire gathered some momentum on the next when they held four shots.

However, Collins expertly extinguished that when he drew a pearlier with his last bowl; New Plymouth immediately produced the white flag.

In the semifinals, McEldowney and Hill edged clubmates Anne Brophy and Bill Foley 15-13, while Atkinson and Collins were commanding 22-4 victors over West End’s Susan Cottam and Steve Temperton.

The victory gave Collins his third Taranaki crown, while Atkinson continued her growing domination on the women’s game by climbing to six. Atkinson’s latest victory follows her recent Taranaki junior sportswoman of the year award and a good performance at the Hong Kong International Classic, where she made the last 16 of the singles and the last six of the pairs.

The New Zealand selectors have given a further indication of their confidence in Atkinson, too. She is one of 14 women picked in the NZ High Performance squad for the season. There is further good news for Taranaki in the squad, with Hamish Kape (Okato) and Kaylin Huwyler (Paritutu) among the 19 men selected, while Kurt Smith (Oakura and Paritutu) is one of the 11 Para players included.