The Wairarapa men’s and women’s bowls selectors’ plans for this weekend’s Lower North Island Octagonal tournament in New Plymouth were thrown into disarray with the cancellation of an important lead-up tournament two weeks ago.
The Tararua Quad featuring Wairarapa, Manawatu, Kapiti Coast, and Wellington is a traditional build-up for the Octagonal tournament and the pinnacle event – the National Intercentre Championships.
Each district fields two teams, giving the selectors the chance to try out different combinations. But heavy rain over that weekend forced the cancellation of the tournament, throwing a spanner into the selection for this weekend’s Octagonal.
“It was just a bit of a hiccup, and it was a pain in the neck, to be honest,” men’s selector Lester Dee said, “we were just working through different things and what have you, and it was going to lead into the Octagonal and then lead into the Intercentre.
“What I was leaning towards doing in the Octagonal was going to be confirmed at the quadrangular, but I decided to go ahead with my plans, so the team is basically what I was going to do anyway, with an exception or two.”
Women’s selector Tanya Wheeler was also frustrated at not being able to assess some of the prospective players’ performances at the representative level.
“It was unfortunate for some of the ones because they weren’t able to be seen, so I had to pick on games that I had seen,” said Wheeler, who, in the end, stuck with her tried and true performers.
“I want to build some kind of consistency there, especially if people are still getting good results, but I also want to bring new people through.”
Both teams will play singles, pairs, triples and fours against teams from Taranaki, Whanganui, Manawatu, Gisborne-East Coast, Hawke’s Bay, Kapiti Coast, and Wellington. The men will play at West End and the women at Paritutu, with two games today, three tomorrow, and two on Sunday.
Dee believes the men are good enough to achieve a high placing on the superb Taranaki greens, while Wheeler is also confident of a good showing.
“Similar teams have done well in other events this season and last season, and there’s no reason why we can’t have the same sort of results, and I’ll be telling my team to aim for about fourth and try and get better with each round,” she said.
Men: Singles – Aaron Love; Pairs – Clint Carrol [skip], Mark O’Brien; Triples – Nairn McGibbon [skip], Mathew Day, Hayden Frew; Fours – Garry Muriwai [skip], Darren Meyrick, Bill Brunenberg, Gavin Hamlyn.
Women: Singles – Tanya Wheeler; Pairs – Makaia Campbell [skip], Maty-Ann Wilson; Triples – Lil Renata [skip], Alanna Saunders, Helen Baker; Fours – Rozanna Muriwai, Janalle Frew, Wendy Mitchell, Stacey Smyth.