The Masterton pair of Jill McLean and Andrew Gardiner are celebrating their maiden centre title after winning the Wairarapa Open Mixed 2-4-2 Pairs at Masterton on Sunday.
The victory was a momentous achievement for the juniors [bowlers with five years or less experience], who held off the experienced combination of Makaia and Matthew Campbell 12–9 in a closely fought final and beat several more seasoned partnerships on the way to the final.
McLean and Gardiner edged Fiona Alexander and Nairn McGibbon 12–11 in the first round of post-section play before a 14–10 quarterfinal defeat of Janalle and Hayden Frew and a commanding 24–5 win over Alanna Saunders and Gary Caffell in the semifinals.
The Campbells made the final with a beating Therese and Darren Meyrick 15–10 in the quarterfinals and a hard-fought 17–16 semifinal triumph over Dale Lloyd-Stanton and Mathew Day.
Post Office Hotel Wairarapa are well-positioned to make a late push for the Furlong Cup when the competition resumes next month.
Wairarapa are fourth on 25 points, 14 behind leaders Manawatū and 11 off second-placed Taranaki, but have a game in hand on both of those teams.
A good haul of points in the next round against Horowhenua-Kāpiti in Levin should keep Wairarapa close enough to mount a late charge in the final match against Hawke’s Bay at Masterton. With the other teams having completed their programmes, Wairarapa will know exactly what is needed to earn a challenge for the Hawke Cup, which is currently held by Hawke’s Bay.
Furlong Cup points – Manawatū 39, Taranaki 36, Hawke’s Bay 26, Wairarapa 25, Horowhenua-Kāpiti 20, Whanganui 19.