Champ of Champ Fours Finals – Round up by Lindsay Knight
Two strong and experienced line-ups from the Riverhead and Takapuna clubs will represent Bowls North Harbour in the national Champion of Champion Fours play-offs in Hastings starting on July 23.
In the finals played on Sunday at Orewa, Riverhead won the Men’s Champion of Champion Fours title by beating a tough Browns Bay in the final and Takapuna won the women’s, being far too strong for a gallant Manly in the final.
Riverhead’s Steve Cox. Grant Goodwin, Duane McDonald and Lindsay Gilmore had shown their mettle and resilience with a come-from-behind win over Birkenhead’s Steve Yates, Jack Huriwai, Adam Richardson and Jimmy Heath in the semi-finals.
And they continued in much the same vein in the final with a 15-11 win against a Brown’s Bay side containing multiple Centre champions in Neil Fisher, John Walker and Brian Wilson.
In the other semi-final Browns Bay had a 16-8 win over a Greg Taylor-skipped Northcote four of Gerard van Tilborg, Peter Siderius and Alan Symes. The Northcote effort continued a fine record by the club in the championship of championship events this season, with runner-up positions in both the pairs and triples.
For each of Cox and Goodwin this was only their third Harbour title but both have had considerable successes over many seasons as Auckland players both at Centre and national levels.
McDonald, only a few seasons out of juniors, won his second Centre title and for Gilmore it was his third. The latter, of course, is one of North Harbour’s most remarkable bowlers as, despite being a natural right hander, he plays now with his left because of an accident.
Takapuna’s Lisa Dickson, Lauren Mills, Robyne Walker and Anne Dorreen were for most part untroubled in winning the women’s final 19-8. But there were some alarms in the early stages with Manly’s skip Henderson playing some inspired bowls.
The consistency and accuracy of all of the Takapuna players, though, eventually took its toll and consecutive fives on the 10th and 11th ends gave them a virtually unassailable lead of 16-6.
Dickson now has 18 Harbour titles and Dorreen 13, putting each in reach of another bar to their gold stars. It was the first Harbour title for both Mills and Walker, though Mills has had many successes previously in Auckland and Northland, and Walker has been close on several occasions in recent seasons.
Manly’s Henderson, Jenny Wilson, Francis Kissel and Val Eadie could be proud of their performance, however. It was an especially praiseworthy feat in ousting a fine Mairangi Bay four of Sheryl Wellington, Jan Gledhill, Colleen Rice and Theresa Rogers, all with several Centre titles, in the semi-finals.
Mairangi Bay came to this match fresh from two notable wins over teams skipped by two Centre legends, Birkenhead’s Ruth Lynch and Orewa’s Elaine McClintock.