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Walker still buzzing over surprise Men’s Open win

Peter Walker won his second centre title with a victory in the Wairarapa Open Singles. PHOTO/FILE

BOWLS

CHRIS COGDALE
[email protected]

Surprise Bowls Wairarapa Men’s Open winner Peter Walker still can’t believe that he walked away with the championship.

Walker, who plays out of the Masterton club, only entered the tournament, held at Featherston and Eketahuna on February 20-21, to get some match play before next week’s Masters Intercentre tournament to be played in Masterton.

“I knew the Masters were coming up, so I thought I’d better get some games in, and I threw my name in the hat because I heard they were short,” Walker said.

“I just wanted to qualify, because I hadn’t been playing much this year because of work commitments and doing a bit around the house and all that sort of stuff, and then I qualified on Saturday, and I thought that’s good, I’ll go back for another day.”

Walker had some jitters in the early rounds of post-section play, winning the first two matches 21-20.

In the first round, he turned the tables on Brian Phillips from Greytown, who had beaten Walker by the same score in qualifying.

Walker then edged Carrington’s Gavin Hamlyn by a single shot in the quarterfinals.

Walker prevailed 21-16 over Richard Anderson from Carrington in the semifinal, to progress to the decider against Wainuiomata visitor Ray Lovie.

Walker won the final 21-14, and although he felt like he had under control most of the way, he said he was never comfortable.

“Singles is a funny game, you can feel confident and then you lose two or three shots and then you don’t get it back again, and a lot of it is mental. It was a huge buzz, and I still can’t believe it.”

Walker has been playing bowls for about 10 years but spent a couple of those years in Western Australia where he only played bowls socially.

His victory was his second centre title to go with his 2017-18 triples championship.

Walker will team with clubmate Norm Beam for this weekend’s Bowls Wairarapa Open Pairs in his final warm-up for the Masters Regional Intercentre tournament on Monday and Tuesday, where he will play the singles.

“It’s not going to be an easy task,” he said, “because you’re playing against guys who have won national titles and have had years of experience.”

Wairarapa will come up against teams from Hutt Valley, Manawatu, Kapiti, Whanganui, and Wellington in the Masters, with the men to play at the Masterton club, and the women to play at Silverstream.

The Wairarapa teams for the Masters’ Regional Intercentre:

Men:

Singles – Peter Walker

Pairs – Gary Caffell [skip], Colin Hutchby

Triples – Stuart Campbell [skip], Les O’Donovan, Steve Elliott

Fours – Garry Muriwai [skip], Peter Ireland, David Richards, Geoff Balmain.

Women:

Singles – Dianne Haswell

Pairs – Dale Rowe [skip], Shirley Poutu

Triples – Brenda Whitehead [skip], Jenny Mahupuku, Teresa Hogg

Fours – Anne Hollis [skip], Maureen McGhie, Dorothy Christensen, Tina Hogg

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