Dianne Haswell with Bowls Wairarapa president Mike Lander after her junior champion of champion singles success. PHOTO/SUPPLIED
No question who has grabbed the limelight on the Wairarapa outdoor bowls scene over the past fortnight.
Dianne Haswell would have that distinction all to herself after her victory in the Wairarapa Open women’s champion of champions singles event with success in the junior women’s champion of champion singles as well.
A member of the Masterton Park club, Haswell is still very much a newcomer to the sport, joining as a full member only three years ago after first experiencing the intricacies of the game in business house competitions before eventually deciding to play it regularly over the summer months.
Before then it was indoor bowls which captured her attention and in her “30-odd years” there, she represented Upper Hutt on numerous occasions.
To win the open’s women’s champion of champions event played at Featherston, Haswell had to overcome a strong challenge from another talented junior in Rachel Bennett [Lansdowne] in the final.
The two went neck to neck points-wise for most of the game with Haswell having a four-shot advantage when victory was secured.
Haswell said she went into the competition determined to stay calm and simply focus on playing as consistently as she could without worrying about the opposition. “I guess it was all about doing the best I could and hoping it was enough to get me through.”.
With the open title in the bag, Haswell obviously went into the junior champion of champions singles at Carrington as one of the favourites and her opponent in the final was Leanne Sweeney [Masterton], twice winner of the Wairarapa Open singles title in a brief but already sparkling career which had seen her dominate the junior scene over the previous three years.
This match too produced some outstanding bowls with Haswell again having her nose in front when it mattered most.
As to her future objectives in outdoor bowls, Haswell is keen to further develop her style of play which is based very much around her accuracy on the draw.
With the help of coach Keith Hannam, she has been working on her run shots with the idea of perhaps being a little more assertive in her approach in the seasons ahead.
For Leanne Sweeney, her loss in the singles final at Carrington did not mean she returned home from the junior champion of champions event empty handed as the day previous she had combined with her daughter Alarna Sweeney, to win the women’s pairs title.
Making that achievement even more notable was the fact that 12 months earlier, Leanne Sweeney had won the same title with another daughter, Samantha, now a permanent fixture in Kapiti representative squads.
On the men’s side, the junior champion of champions was very much a triumph for Greytown’s Darren Meyrick who combined with his good mate Dean Hands to win the pairs on the Saturday and then made it a double by also taking out the singles on the Sunday where his opponent in the final was David Haswell, husband of Dianne, and also from the Park club.
Last weekend also had the Terrace End club from Palmerston North staging their always popular women’s pairs tournament with several Wairarapa combinations taking part.
Masterton duo Makaia Campbell and Alanna Saunders had four narrow losses on the first day but bounced back with four wins on the second to take the major spoils in division two.
The last of the representative fixtures for the season will be hosted by Kapiti this Saturday when a junior fixture for players with five years or less playing experience will have Wairarapa doing battle with Wellington, Hutt Valley and Kapiti.
Women: Leanne Sweeney [singles], Alanna Saunders, Dianne Haswell [pairs], Irene Brien, Megan Leighton, Elaine Hemi [triples] and Rachel Bennett, Jackie Kelynack, Olivia Mancer, Marjory McGhie [fours].
Men: Matthew Day [singles], Dean Hands, Darren Meyrick [pairs], Don Bell, Stephen Elliott, Goff Moorcock [triples] and Ronnie Saunders, Glen Rowe, Dave Hourigan and Geoff Balmain [fours].