2023 – 2024 Summerset Nationals – report by Lindsay Knight

  • January 6, 2024

   The small number of North Harbour bowlers who travelled to Christchurch for the 2023-24 Summerset national championships performed creditably in the tournament’s first week, but without gaining a major success.

 Helensville’s Bart Robertson and Birkenhead’s Daymon Pierson did best in what was a highly competitive men’s singles championship in which among the entries were world champions like Canada’s Ryan Bester and Shannon McIlroy and past champions with multiple titles like Gary Lawson, Ali Forsyth, Petar Sain. Tony Grantham, Kelvin Scott and Mike Kernaghan.

 Bart and Daymon both made the final 32 in post-section. Younger bowlers like Chad Nathan, Matthew Higginson and Paul Daniels did well to make post-section, where they lost their first game. Takapuna’s Steve Hoeft also qualified but missed out in the first round.

 Grantham, still a member of Birkenhead, also went early in post-section. However, he was playing for his Auckland club, Mt Albert.

 Robyne Walker and Millie Nathan made the women’s pairs post-section but after qualifying on slower greens found difficulty readjusting on the faster Burnside green, particularly against opponents who had played there the previous day. Selina Goddard and her Nelson partner Amy McIlroy eliminated Elaine McClintock and her sister Dianne Patterson, in post-section, but then lost narrowly to former Black Jack Jan Shirley and her Canadian partner, Kelly McKerihen.

 There was a great effort from Skye Renes and Gaye Horne to make the final 16, but they lost there to two experienced Canterbury bowlers, Fiona Frew and Pam Phair.

 Shirley, from Christchurch’s strong Elmwood club, and McKerihen, who was runner-up in the 2023 world singles to Kiwi Tayla Bruce, won the final from two highly promising youngsters, Whanganui’s Tannith Potgieter and Taranaki’s Briar Atkinson.

 Two others of the country’s best young prospects, Southlander Sheldon Bagrie-Howley, seeking to gain back-to-back titles, and Auckland’s Aiden Takurua contested the men’s singles final. Takaurua, from the Point Chevalier club, who had enjoyed success in the Harbour region, won his national title with a 21-18 win.