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Wairarapa teams target top two

Peter Ireland is likely to play a key role in the fours for Wairarapa. PHOTO/JADE CVETKOV

BOWLS

CHRIS COGDALE
[email protected]

A change of format will add a different dimension to the Bowls NZ Intercentre Championships starting today in Wellington.

Wairarapa will take eight-strong squads to both the men’s and women’s competitions, which will provide flexibility to interchange between the various disciplines to fit with the new format.

In the past, players were selected for either singles, pairs, or fours, with no interchange, but they can now play in any discipline in any round.

The playing format has also been changed from a scatter draw, and all disciplines will play the same opposition in the same round.

Wairarapa selectors, Warren Fisher, for the men, and Tanya Wheeler, for the women, said the new format will make the competition more of a strategy game and teams will interchange players to target different teams, but it will also allow teams to replace players who are struggling or need a rest.

The men will face Nelson, Hawke’s Bay, North Otago, Dunedin, and Kapiti Coast in their group, with the top two to progress to the quarterfinals on Saturday afternoon.

Fisher said it will be hard to qualify but thought they could give some of the other teams a good run.

“Dunedin and Nelson are obviously going to be the tough ones,” he said.

“We know we can beat Hawke’s Bay and we know we can beat Kapiti, so it’s just a matter of putting something else together.

“Making the last eight would be a good result for Wairarapa, and we’ve gone close before but never quite done it.”

Scott Mackenzie is likely to play the singles, while Gary Caffell and Fisher are expected to start in the pair, with the four to come from Gary Muriwai, John Claydon, Bill Brunenberg, Peter Ireland, and Gavin Hamlyn.

Janalle Frew has been in good form, winning the Champion of Champion Pairs. PHOTO/FILE

Wheeler has yet to work out her combinations but is rapt with the form shown by her players, with five of them having won centre titles in the past fortnight.

Makaia Campbell claimed the Champion of Champion singles, while Wheeler and Janalle Frew took out the Champion of Champion pairs, and Dale Rowe and Helen Baker won the Wairarapa Open Pairs.

Rozanna Muriwai, Shirley Poutu, and Leah Mackenzie make up the eight.

Wheeler said the team had learnt a lot from last month’s Lower North Island Octagonal tournament, where they finished seventh, and there were some encouraging performances.

“We’ve got quite a tough section with North Harbour and Central Otago, but I will be pushing for qualifying which means that out of our section we have to end up in the top two,” she said.

Bay of Plenty, Kapiti Coast, and Southland complete the group.

Three rounds will be played today and another two rounds on Saturday. The quarterfinals will be played on Saturday afternoon, with the semifinals and final on Sunday.

The men will play at Johnsonville today and Victoria on Saturday, while the women play at Island Bay and Wilton.

The Wairarapa teams for the National Intercentre Championship in Wellington

Men: Scott Mackenzie, Gary Caffell, Warren Fisher, Gary Muriwai, John Claydon, Bill Brunenberg, Peter Ireland and Gavin Hamlyn.

Women: Makaia Campbell, Dale Rowe, Helen Baker, Janalle Frew, Tanya Wheeler, Rozanna Muriwai, Shirley Poutu and Leah Mackenzie.

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