Battle of the Bridge – Summary by Lindsay Knight

North Harbour’s representatives, men and women, emerged with considerable credit from an absorbing round of matches in the 2019 version of bowls’ Battle of the Bridge at the weekend.

  Harbour actually sneaked past Auckland in the four premier grades to win the Open contest, while the one-to-five-year bowlers missed out to their Auckland counterparts despite some encouraging performances by some of the men players.

  Both head coaches, Graham Dorreen (women’s teams) and Gary Stevens (men’s teams) were happy with the efforts of all the premier players. 

 Stevens pointed out that the premier one men’s team had lost just six games to eight to a star-studded Auckland team which included several past and present Black Jacks and national development representatives, including the long-time Harbour mainstay, Tony Grantham.

 And also at the Point Chevalier club Harbour’s Premier Two team performed with distinction to edge out a strong Auckland side, also by eight games to six.

 In the women’s matches played on slick Howick greens running at around 18 seconds, Harbour’s premier one team split the games with Auckland seven-all with the women’s premier two providing the edge for the overall result with an 8-6 win.

 Dorreen said all 16 players had shown improved skills since the earlier representative fixture and were making selection for the nationals to be held later in the season difficult. There were a large number of players who were saying “pick me” with their consistent performances.

 Black Jack Wendy Jensen won all three of her matches, as did Birkenhead veteran Ruth Lynch who has made a welcome return to the representative scene.

 Another Black Jack Selena Goddard was also in good form, even if she lost her singles match by a narrow 21-20 margin.

 In the one-to-five clashes played at the Milford club Auckland had a decisive win 15-5 to Harbour’s 12-5. The junior men, however, did have the edge on the Aucklanders winning 8-6, with two players, Phil Chisholm and Zaylin Ross having unbeaten records. David Payne went close, too, to winning three from three but after leading 20-12 lost his singles 21-20.

 The format followed, on the lines of a Ryder Cup golf contest, was again a major success, with the day starting with two fours matches, followed by four pairs matches and ending with each team’s eight players involved in singles.