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Women bowlers claim top spot

By Gary Caffell

New Wairarapa women’s outdoor bowls selector Gail Hemi has made a dream start in that role.

Her development squad and senior teams did so well in the quadrangular tournament at Castlecliff, Whanganui, against powerful opposition from Taranaki, Manawatu and Whanganui last Sunday that when their combined scores were tallied they topped the overall points table.

Seldom, if ever, have Wairarapa women achieved a more impressive result on the interprovincial scene and understandably Hemi, who was also part of the senior playing line-up, was “absolutely rapt” at their results.

“It was a nice surprise, for us as well as everybody else,” Hemi said.

“Both teams performed above expectations, that’s for sure.”

The development squad section was open for players who have been playing bowls for eight seasons or less and Wairarapa placed first with 14 points out of a possible 18.

Second was Taranaki on 10, followed by Manawatu 8 and Whanganui 4.

Singles player Leanne Sweeney won all three of her games for Wairarapa as did the pair of Fiona Mancer and Diane Haswell while the four of Janelle Frew, Mary-Anne Ashworth, Alanna Saunders and Jackie Kelynack had one win.

Remarkably, the most experienced of this team, Frew and Mancer, are only six-year players, meaning this squad could well stay together for at least another couple of seasons.

“There is a lot of talent there, and they will get even better the more games they play together,” Hemi said.

“They enjoy each other’s company and that’s important, they want to do well for each other.”

To say the senior women’s section at Castlecliff provided a stirring finish would be a huge understatement.

Manawatu, Wairarapa and Whanganui all ended up with 16 points and Taranaki on 12 and the result had to be decided on points differential.

There it was Manawatu who had the edge with a differential of plus 42 compared with Wairarapa’s plus two and Whanganui’s minus eight.

Both singles players for Wairarapa, Makaia Campbell and Hemi, won two of their three games and the same record was achieved by the pairs combinations of Brenda Whitehead and Jean Paku and Wendy Mitchell and Kaye Lahman.

The four of Dale Rowe, Dorothy Christiansen, Viv Ellam and Mary Williamson had one win.

There was little joy results-wise for the Wairarapa men’s teams in the same quadrangular series, the seniors finishing fourth on countback and the development squad third.

Points: Senior: Taranaki 24, Manawatu 16, Whanganui and Wairarapa 10. Development squad: Manawatu 14, Whanganui 9, Wairarapa 8 and Taranaki 5.

Also on the outdoor bowling front, a team from the South Wairarapa Workingmen’s Club consisting of Gail Hemi (skip), Shirley Pouto, Viv Ellam and Tina Hogg, made a strong showing at the North Island Chartered Clubs fours tournament, organised by the Taradale Community and Sports Club.

Their six wins from as many games in qualifying round play made them one of the top two qualifiers for post-section competition with the most notable of those being against a Havelock North team which saw the SWCC four recover from 17-2 down to win 20-19.

They also won their first two matches in post-section action before being eliminated.

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