Les O’Donovan, winner of the Wairarapa Open Singles. PHOTO/FILE



Veteran Featherston bowler Les O’Donovan turned back the clock over the weekend with a stunning victory in the Wairarapa Open Singles played at the Masterton Bowling Club.

Up against defending champion Robbie Bennett from Titahi Bay in Sunday’s final, O’Donovan trailed 3-6 early on, but then took control, not dropping another end, and coasting to a 21-6 victory.

O’Donovan reckoned playing shorter ends was the key to the win.

“I shortened the kitty and never lost another end from then on,” he said.

“I was drawing pretty flash, and once I got it right my delivery was on song.”

O’Donovan was surprised how easily he won the final over Bennett.

“I was expecting a tough game and it started off that way, but once I got control of the kitty I could play my own game.”

Donovan had a close battle in the semifinal with Featherston club mate Scott McKenzie before he prevailed 21-18.

“It was a really good game, and I had to be careful not to give up the one shot I held with my final bowl,” he said.

Bennett defeated Masterton’s Lester Dee in the other semifinal.

O’Donovan is not sure how many centre titles he has now won.

“I think its about 30, and I’ve won the singles a few times, the last time a few years ago.”

Earlier in the tournament, 12 players qualified for post-section play on Saturday.

The big shock was the elimination of one of the tournament favourites, Ian Monaghan, who lost to Dee and Warren Fisher in qualifying.