by Grant Hassall
Sue Hodges’ Omokoroa quartet of Karen Pickering, Rachelle Morrison and Ruth Lynch have run out comfortable winners in the final of the 72nd Devon Hotel Taranaki women’s Open fours.
Hodges’ side defeated the Thames Coast team of Molly Galloway, Deborah Gainfort, Val Mathews and skip Kaye Bunn 30-15 in a rain-interrupted final.
The Omokoroa side settled into its work much quicker in the final, a four on the second end giving the side some confidence. That became even more pronounced on the 6th head when Hodges took a six when the Thames Valley quartet failed to get close and the Omokoroa side packed them in a perfect group down the centre line of the rink.
A three on the next to Hodges took the score to 15-4.
But Bunn replied with three successive singles, making it 15-7 after 10 ends at the morning tea adjournment. The margin could have been even greater, though.
Hodges held four shots on both the 9th and 10th ends, before superb Bunn bowls took the point.
A three on the 14th head to Bunn, as the drizzle became a little thicker, brought the score to 17-11. It was game on.
But the momentum movement went with Hodges. Her side took two fours in a row, plus a brace, to make it 27-11 after 17 ends.
It was at that junction, with the green starting to pool , that play was moved indoors.
Only singles were scored on the resumption, three to Hodges and two to Bunn, making it 30-13 after 22 ends.
Bunn then held a good five on the 23rd, before Hodges, with her last delivery, drew one just behind the jack. Bunn attacked, hitting a short bowl onto the counter, to give her side two. But with a differential of 15 and only two ends to make that up, Bunn conceded.
On the day there was no denying that the better side won. They placed more bowls around the head and that was ultimately reflected in the large counts which went their way. Three fours and a six were clearly the difference.
The victory for Hodges was even more sweeter given it contained Mother-and-daughter duo (Lynch and Morrison).
While there was natural disappointment for Bunn’s team, they took the defeat graciously. The gritty skip, who only returned to bowls four years ago, in fact won her 11th Thames Valley title in the open singles on the Sunday prior to the Taranaki tournament commencing. Bunn also won a Waikato champion-of-champions fours a generation ago.
Terry McAlary, of the Marlin Coast club just north of Carins, and Sue Brady, of the Pine Rivers club in Brisbane, have become the first holders of The Margaret Cole Trophy after they posted a nail-biting 22-18 victory in The Devon Hotel Taranaki women’s Open fours-pairs event at Paritutu yesterday.
There was much doubt in the result of the final, right up to the last bowl on the last end, after two junior players representing the Tower club in Hawera, Alethea Rowlands and Irene Taunt, staged a brilliant comeback in the final.
The Australian pair were in superb touch on Saturday and they continued that in the early stages of the final, despite the move back to the natural Maniototo surface.
They opened with a three and a five on the first two ends. Their domination continued to such an extent that after 13 ends, it had become 20-5.
That was when the run of Rowlands and Taunt commenced, just as the light drizzle began. Immediately, they took a three, followed by a four. Four successive singles were then added, before a two on the penultimate head, made the score 20-18. On the last end, Rowlands got handy with her first bowl. But McAlary bettered that. Brady added a second to secure the win.
Taranaki bowls legend, Margaret Cole, Black Jack number 20, was on hand to present the cup bearing her name, which was made possible through the generosity of Kevin Gray.