Bowls NZ National Championships Report by Lindsay Knight

Takapuna’s Selina Goddard and Graham Skellern, both contenders for Commonwealth Games selection this year, were again North Harbour’s best performers in the national pairs and singles championships which ended in Christchurch yesterday.

 Skellern added to his collection of national wins in para events by comfortably winning the singles final, beating Canterbury’s Bruce Wakefield 21-3.

 And Selina made the semi-finals of the women’s championship singles and with her Nelson partner Amy McIlroy made the quarter-finals of the women’s championship pairs.

 In the singles she hit form late to score impressive wins over two well performed players from Auckland’s Carlton-Cornwall club, Lisa Prideaux and Linda Ralph. 

 But she missed out in the semi-finals, losing to fellow Black Jack, Canterbury’s Tayla Bruce, 21-16, with Bruce going on to win the final from Wellington’s Clare Hendra.

 In the pairs Selina and McIlroy had a good 17-15 win over the Boyd sisters, Mandy and Angela, but lost in the quarter-finals.

Besides Selina, Takapuna team-mates Robyne Walker and Wendy Jensen, made the singles post-section. Robyne performed mightily to win her first five matches, including a win over Wendy in the qualifying rounds.

This was Wendy’s second loss as she also went down to pairs champion Sandra Keith. However, she was in commanding form on the second day of qualifying to win all three matches.

A little known Arrowtown bowler, Debbie Jackson, in post-section proved the nemesis of both Wendy and Robyne.

Takapuna’s Wendy and Skye Renes, Lisa Dickson and Anne Dorreen and Robyne playing with Birkenhead’s Millie Nathan all made the pairs post-section. None went too deep but Robyne and Millie at least had the consolation of being eliminated by the eventual champions, Keith and her 80-year old lead Bev Morel.

Birkenhead’s Daymon Pierson and Helensville’s Bart Robertson made the men’s singles post-section, with Pierson going out only after extending the eventual champion, Kelvin Scott, 21-17.

In the pairs Takapuna’s Brett O’Riley and Phil Skoglund qualified for post-section, as did Brent Malcolm and Jerry Belcher. Unfortunately, they all met early in post-section, with the O’Riley-Skoglund duo beating Malcolm and Belcher 21-9.

 O’Riley and Skoglund then went out to the powerhouse paring of Gary Lawson and Tony Grantham.

 The efforts of Goddard and Skellern apart, for North Harbour the only remaining glory was in the efforts of Grantham, who achieved the great feat of making the finals in both the singles and pairs.

 In the singles he lost 21-14 to Canterbury’s Kelvin Scott and in the pairs he partnered Lawson in another loss against Andrew Kelly and Seamus Curtain.

 Grantham, however, plays these days out of the Mount Albert club in the Auckland centre. But he is very much a Harbour product, with more than 20 centre titles and a close association with the Browns Bay and Birkenhead clubs.