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Hands up for surprise win

By Gary Caffell

Dean Hands admits he can’t take the smile off his face.

The Kuranui College teacher who is a member of the Greytown Bowling Club celebrated his 53rd birthday on Monday but it wasn’t that which still has him pinching himself in disbelief.

Rather it was his win at Featherston the previous day in the final of Bowls Wairarapa men’s open singles championship, a special moment for any bowler but even more so for someone who has still two more years to go in the junior ranks, which takes in players with five years or less experience.

For Hands it was his second year of contesting the open singles and his main goal was to go one better than 2016 and qualify for post-section play.

“I would have been happy just to qualify… I certainly didn’t think I would go all the way.”

It wasn’t that Hands had an easy path to the final either.

He did draw the bye in the first round of post-section but his semi-final opponent was none other than Masterton gun Ian Monaghan, whose 61 centre titles is well and truly a record for this province.

The windy conditions were not ideal for accurate draw play but Hands was the more consistent of the two and won comfortably 21-11, thereby taking him through to the final against another formidable member of the Masterton club in John Claydon.

And for at least the first half of the game it was Claydon who called the tune only for Hands to gain the momentum over the latter stages and win 21-14.

While delighted with his victory Hands was also quick to pay tribute to Claydon for helping him overcome any nerves by chatting away amicably as the final progressed.

“It was a really enjoyable game, the wind made it tough but we didn’t let that spoil things, if a bowl got blown off course you just had to grin and bear it.”

For Hands it was his second senior centre title in a matter of a few weeks with the first coming when he partnered fellow Greytown club member Gail Hemi to the mixed 2-4-2 crown.

There they beat Makaia Campbell (Masterton) and Peter Ireland (Martinborough) in the decider.

These wins follow on from a hugely successful last season for Hands in Greytown club championship events when he won no fewer than five titles, junior singles and pairs and the open singles, pairs and fours but the man himself says he still has a lot to learn about the game.

“Right now I’m pretty much only a draw bowler, I do play the odd run shot but when it comes to driving… no, I don’t get into that much at all.

“There’s plenty of work to do, that’s for sure.”

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