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Bowlers fail to fire in Wellington

Wairarapa failed to advance from their sections at the men’s and women’s Bowls NZ National Intercentre Championships played in Wellington at the weekend.

The women were the better-performed of the two teams, finishing fifth with one win, while the best the men could manage was a draw in finishing sixth and last in their section.

Wairarapa started the women’s competition on Friday with a 3–0 whitewash of West Coast. Player-selector Tanya Wheeler won her singles 25–15; the pair were 21–10 victors, and the four held on for a 12–10 triumph.

Wheeler was again in good form, with her second win [25–21] in a 2–1 loss to Waikato. The fours picked up the only wins in 2–1 losses to Counties-Manukau [16–12] and Central Otago [20–12] before a 3–0 loss to North Harbour completed their campaign.

Although the team didn’t reach Wheeler’s goal, she was satisfied with some aspects of their performances over the two days.

“For me, qualifying was my goal, but we had some very close losses and some very tough matches, and two of the teams that were in our section [North Harbour and Waikato] were semifinalists,” Wheeler said.

“I’m very pleased with a lot of the results. We sat down after our part of the tournament had ended and discussed it, and I played some bad bowls and others played some bad bowls, but overall, we came out of it positively.”

Wairarapa men’s selector Lester Dee was bitterly disappointed in his team’s effort, finishing at the bottom of the table, with their only point coming from a draw with North Harbour.

“It was diabolical,” said Dee, “we were just playing teams that were better than us. I can’t give you anything positive.”

The pair of Gavin Hamlyn and Mark O’Brien scored Wairarapa’s only wins, 18–13 in a 2–1 loss to Nelson and 18–13 in the 1.5–1.5 draw with North Harbour, while the four had two 14–14 draws with North Harbour and in the 2-5-0.5 loss to Southland.

“I thought the best player, and he went as good as he possibly could, was Mathew Day in the singles,” Dee said.

“He pushed a couple of Black Jacks. He took Shannon McIlroy to one point, and Matt could’ve won that game, and the other one was Sheldon Bagrie-Howley [Southland] and he was with him for a long time.”

For Dee, the tournament was a disappointing end to his tenure as selector, the highlight of which was winning a bronze medal at the 2021 National Intercentre Championships.

Chris Cogdale
Chris Cogdale
Chris “Coggie” Cogdale has extensive knowledge of sport in Wairarapa having covered it for more than 30 years, including radio for 28 years. He has been the sports guru at the Wairarapa Times-Age since 2019.

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