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Wairarapa facing a tough debut

Dale Rowe … will skip Wairarapa’s women’s four. PHOTOS/FILE


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Wairarapa went into the Octagonal tournament, which started yesterday, in New Plymouth as rank outsiders against some of the strongest centres in New Zealand.

The tournament was started several years ago after the demise of the regional playoffs for the national club championships and until this year was a six-team competition involving teams from Taranaki, Whanganui, Manawatu, Kapiti, Wellington, and Hawke’s Bay.

Bowls Wairarapa lobbied hard to get into the tournament and, along with Gisborne East Coast, are competing for the first time.

The format is unique with each team playing two singles, two pairs, and a four against each of the other seven centres.

The tournament is also the final chance for selectors Peter Davidson [men] and Tanya Wheeler [women] to hone their squads ahead of the national inter-centre championships in Wellington next month.

Wairarapa open singles champion and the winner of 70 Wairarapa centre titles Ian Monaghan [Masterton] is a predictable selection for the number one singles spot. Greytown’s Darren Meyrick takes the number two role.

Hayden Frew … will play the pairs.

Featherston clubmates Scott Mackenzie [skip] and Hayden Frew form the number one pairs combination. Martinborough’s Garry Muriwai [skip] is joined by Dean Hands from Greytown in the second pairing.

Masterton’s John Claydon skips an experienced four with the evergreen Les O’Donovan [Featherston], Steve Willis [Greytown] and Warren Fisher [Masterton].

The men come into the tournament on the back of a fourth placing at last month’s quadrangular tournament in Palmerston North featuring teams from Manawatu, Wellington, and Kapiti.

Whereas the men’s lead-up form has been disappointing, the women enter this weekend’s tournament on a high after their second place at the same quadrangular tournament.

Makaia Campbell [Masterton] has been rewarded for her hot form, winning her sixth Wairarapa Open Singles title last week, with selection in the number one singles role. Campbell also had two wins over Manawatu and Kapiti at last month’s quadrangular.

Featherston’s Gail Hemi skipped the B four at the quad tournament but steps into the second singles position for New Plymouth.

The all-Featherston combination of Wheeler [skip] and Shirley Poutu make up the number one pair, while Park’s Brenda Whitehead [skip] and Maryanne Ashworth [Featherston] take the number two position.

Featherston also has a strong presence in the four with Dale Rowe at skip and Janelle Frew at two, along with Rozanna Muriwai [Martinborough] and Angela Rose [Masterton].

Play got under way yesterday afternoon with the first two rounds. Three games will be played today and the final two rounds tomorrow.

The men’s competition is at Paritutu and the women’s at the Westend Club.

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