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Pairs star for Wairarapa men

The pairs were the star of the show in the Wairarapa men’s team’s impressive fourth placing at the Lower North Island octagonal tournament in New Plymouth over the weekend.

The Martinborough combination of skip Clint Carroll and Mark O’Brien won five of their seven games, scoring victories over Whanganui, Kapiti Coast, Manawatu, Gisborne East Coast, and Hawke’s Bay.

Not far behind were the triple with three wins and a draw and the four with three wins.

The triple of Nairn McGibbon [skip], Mathew Day, and Hayden Frew defeated Whanganui, Kapiti Coast, and Hawke’s Bay and drew with Gisborne East Coast.

The four of Garry Muriwai [skip], Darren Meyrick, Bill Brunenberg, and Gavin Hamlyn claimed wins over Kapiti Coast, Whanganui, and the prized scalp of the Taranaki four, skipped by former international Maurice Symes.

Aaron Love had only one win in the singles, in the first round over Manawatu; however, selector Lester Dee felt that Love played well overall but the games didn’t go his way.

“The singles are a pain in the neck because they can go either way those games, and our player Aaron played really well – he lost more than he won – but the pairs were the find of the tournament,” Dee said.

“We were third after Friday, but on Saturday, we had a bit of a hiccup day, so that dropped down to fourth, but we maintained that, so that was good.”

The tournament was the last chance for players to impress before the national intercentre championships in Christchurch next month. Dee felt the performances over the weekend brought a lot of confidence, and he now has the challenging task of whittling the team to eight players, with singles, pairs, and fours, and an eighth player named for the intercentres.

Wairarapa women’s selector Tanya Wheeler was disappointed with her team’s eighth and last placing in their octagonal tournament.

The shining light was the four of Rozanna Muriwai [skip], Janalle Frew, Wendy Mitchell, and Stacey Smyth, who had four wins over Kapiti Coast, Taranaki, Gisborne East Coast, and Wellington, but the same combination won’t line up at the “intercentres”.

“They gelled really well, and I was really pleased,” Wheeler said.

“Unfortunately, Wendy won’t be available for the next fixture, so I’m going to have to change that around, and I would like to leave that team as it is, as near as possible as I could, because they’re going really well, and I would like them to continue doing that.”

The triple picked up wins over Kapiti Coast and Hawke’s Bay, while the pair’s only win came against Hawke’s Bay on Sunday after Wheeler had changed the lineup.

Wheeler started the tournament by beating Manawatu in the first round but failed to claim another scalp in what she thought was a disappointing performance.

“I started off with a hiss and a roar, and I was really confident about my bowls. I had some really close games, but I couldn’t get across the finish line.

“I enjoyed the speed of the greens because they are a lot faster up there than what we get here. I coped with that pretty well in my first game, and I felt like I was playing really well, and then the wheels fell off.”

With less than five weeks to the National Intercentre Championships, Wheeler has few options to consider, although she will likely make changes in the singles and pairs.

Wellington won both the men’s and women’s titles at the octagonal tournament.

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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