Other than teenaged prodigy Jack Green, it was a day for seasoned bowlers, especially Sunnybrae matriarch Mary Gulbrandsen, when the centre championship fours finals were held at Birkenhead at the weekend.
While Gulbrandsen landed a significant title in the women’s final, Green played lead for a powerful Brown’s Bay unit of skip Scott Cottrell, former Black Jack Kerry Chapman and one of the centre’s most decorated bowlers, Brent Turner, in winning the men’s title.
Having beaten a strong Mairangi Bay four, which included other multiple champions in John Walker and Colin Rogan, the Browns Bay four beat that of Orewa’s David Eades in the final 16-6.
In their semi-final the Orewa men had ousted the other star-studded Browns Bay line-up skipped by former Black Jack Tony Grantham.
It was an illustration of the natural talent in the Cottrell four as few of them had played much competitive bowls this season. At lead Green did well to match the vastly experienced Wayne Wrack to add to the champion of champions triples title he had gained in the 2014-15 season with Mairangi Bay while he was still at school.
He dropped out of the game in recent seasons but this year has returned to play with one of his warmest admirers, Turner.
The other evergreen shining at the weekend was, of course, Gulbrandsen. She played at three in the Jan Jones-skipped Sunnybrae four which accounted for Judith Seager’s Orewa 19-7 in the final.
That gave Gulbrandsen, who also has a national fours title to her credit, her 10th centre title and thus a bar to her gold star. It had been a long wait to gain this distinction as her last centre success came 10 years ago.
Jones collected her sixth centre title and for the other members, Keryl Blackburn and Jan McGowan, it was their first, though each has been often close previously.
In the semi-finals Sunnybrae beat Sandra Coombes’ Mairangi Bay four 15-12 and Seager beat the highly fancied Birkenhead line-up of Carol Fredrick by the same score.
BNH Centre 4s Men’s Champions 2018-2019 (L-R) Kerry Chapman, Jack Green, Brent Turner, Scott Cottrell