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Mancer bowls into national U-26 side

BOWLS: Wairarapa’s Olivia Mancer has been named to the New Zealand Under-26 team to play in the Oceania Challenge in Auckland in April.

The former Solway College student is part of the five-strong team in the four-day tournament, possibly also featuring Tonga, Samoa, Papua New Guinea, Norfolk Island, Niue, Fiji, Cook Island, Tokelau, and Australia.

Mancer will play the triples and fours in the format which sees the singles and fours played on one day followed by the pairs and triples on the next.

The 18-year-old’s selection follows some outstanding form in Manawatu, where she now plays for the Bowls Palmerston North club.

“I made the Manawatu rep team that is playing in Taranaki this weekend, I made a couple of semifinals, I made the open women’s singles final, I made the final of the open triples, and our club won the interclub,” Mancer said.

Mancer, who has previously represented Wairarapa at senior level, is the lead in the pairs for Manawatu at this weekend’s Octagonal tournament in New Plymouth. Keeping it in the family, her mother, Fiona, also a former Wairarapa rep, is skip of the Manawatu four this weekend.

Mancer will find out more about what is expected of her on her international debut on a Zoom meeting with coaches on Monday, however, she said her aim is to go out there and play to the best of her ability and enjoy wearing the silver fern for the first time.

Bowls NZ national head coach Mike Kernaghan said he is looking forward to seeing the players ply their trade in the coming months.

“It’s a great mix of talent and experience, and [I’m sure] they’ll see this as an opportunity to impress, not only me but selectors and other people in the high-performance programme . . . essentially that’s what it’s all about,” Kernaghan said.

The women’s selections feature Ashleigh Jeffcoat – also a member of the New Zealand high performance squad, Briar Atkinson, Caitlin Thomson, Mancer, and Henrietta Scott, who have all shown plenty of promise at recent events, including the Summerset Nationals in Auckland.

Before her international debut, Mancer will move to Christchurch this week to study commerce at Canterbury University. She will join the strong Burnside Bowling Club, the home of several internationals, including Birmingham Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Tayla Bruce, her main reason for joining the club.

The Oceania Challenge will be played at the Blockhouse Bay Bowling Club from April 13-17.

PETANQUE: Visiting players filled the podium at the Masterton Petanque Club’s hospice charity tournament plated at the club’s Queen Elizabeth Park venue.

Peter van Heusden [Naenae] won the Hospice Charity Melee Trophy with five wins. Debby Butler [Kapiti] was second with four wins, edging Ann Hogg [Horowhenua] on points differential.

All proceeds from the tournament go to the local hospice, and this year $2000 was raised for Hospice Wairarapa.

CYCLING: Teenager Caleb Roberts took the major honours at Athletics and Cycling Masterton road cycling championships on the Carrington course on Tuesday.

The 17-year-old completed the 48km race in one hour, 40 minutes and 54 seconds, about four seconds ahead of Simon Pumfrey, with Derek Roberts third.

Belinda Fuller was the first woman home, and Ricky Blade took out the short course race. The next race on Tuesday is the Upper Manaia Kermesse.

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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