Big Upset – 12 May 2019
What might rank as the biggest upset in any North Harbour centre event occurred on the Helensville carpet at the weekend when a couple of little known Milford bowlers had a shock win over two of the centre’s most distinguished women’s players.
Joy Preston and Alwine Barlow won the centre women’s champion of champions pairs title by beating Orewa’s Elaine McClintock and Lisa Parlane, in the final, with McClintock and Parlane, on the strength of their outstanding records, going into the contest as the hottest of favourites.
Between them, McClintock and Parlane have almost 30 harbours title, as well as several from other centres like Bay of Plenty and Auckland, plus New Zealand Open titles while McClintock in 2015 was runner-up in the national singles final. And just recently both were mainstays of the Harbour women’s representative team which was a creditable semi-finalist in the national inter-centre contest.
Enhancing their short priced favouritism was the fact that in making the final McClintock and Parlane had beaten a number of useful combinations, Takapuna’s Anne Dorreen and Robyne Walker in the first round and in the semi-finals, multiple centre champions from Mairangi Bay in Noeleen Culpan and Caryl Miles.
Preston and Barlow, by contrast, have no titles other than those at their club and, in the case of Preston especially, are pretty much social bowlers. Preston says she did not make the most of her junior seasons and played for her first few years little more than business-house bowls. Barlow, only a year or so out of juniors, has been a little more bowls focused, but like Preston has been as equally involved in club administration as Milford’s secretary.
The Harbour’s unofficial statistician and eminent bowler himself, Colin Rogan, was among those staggered by the result. In his 25 years as a player and administrator he could not recall, given the pedigree of the bowlers concerned, a bigger upset, though he did point out few sports were as unpredictable as bowls.
Preston, introduced to the game just nine years ago by brother-in-law Tim, admitted the result shocked her and Alwine as much as anyone. “We were just happy to make the final,” she said.
Her only explanation was they may have been under-rated particularly after the first few ends when they trailed 9-1. But that may have resulted in them rather than becoming deflated being a little more relaxed and adopting a nothing to lose attitude.
Suddenly the game changed with the Orewa duo losing six ends in a row and despite dropping a six on one of the latter ends the Milford pair was able to hang on to win by just two shots, 21-19.
In the men’s final Warkworth’s Mike Beretta and Stuart Macdonald beat Riverhead’s Steve Cox and Duane McDonald 18-13. It was a second title for the Warkworth bowlers, Beretta being part of a winning triple in 2016 and Macdonald winning the champion of champion singles in 2007.
Beretta and Macdonald only just survived their semi-final, gaining a three on the last end to edge out Takapuna’s Brett O’Riley and Graham Skellern 19-18 while Cox and McDonald beat Mairangi Bay’s David Payne and Neil Buckner 21-18.
Takapuna’s Gordon Jenkins and Bob Telfer, both previous winners at junior level, won the one-to-five year men’s pairs title, while another pair with several titles, even at open level, in Mairangi Bay’s Colleen Rice and Theresa Rogers comfortably won the round-robin which decided the women’s one-to-five years title.