Harcourts 1-5 Junior Open Singles Wrap by Lindsay Knight

Mairangi Bay’s consistency in North Harbour junior events in recent years was again illustrated at the weekend when two of the club’s and centre’s most promising women’s players, Theresa Rogers and Colleen Rice, fought out an absorbing final in the one-to-five-year singles championship.

Rogers, showed considerable determination by rallying from big deficits in both the final against Rice, and in the semi-final against Birkenhead’s Jacqui Belcher.

To beat Rice, who was the defending champion from the 2016-17 season, Rogers recovered from a deficit of 13-5 to win 21-19 and against Belcher she prevailed 19-17 after having been behind early 9-0.

The crucial end in the final came when Rogers, behind 12-15, picked up a four, with Rice paying the cost of some failed run shots, to take the lead at 15-5.

For Rogers the win was especially satisfying as earlier this season she lost the centre senior championship singles when after having a big lead she was run down in the final by Birkenhead’s vastly experienced Ruth Lynch.

Rice, who like Rogers is a fourth-year bowler and who also has senior titles to her credit, beat Manly’s Judy Smith 21-16 in her semi-final.

Rogers went into post-section play as the top qualifier, and the favouritism tag made her uneasy. “I was nervous about that,” she said. “At our club the top qualifier usually gets beaten.”

Manly’s Kevin Rainsford, after a number of near misses, impressively won the one-to-five year men’s singles, with a comfortable 21-10 victory in the final over Riverhead’s Duncan Whittaker.

On the way to the final Rainsford had some excellent wins over last season’s winner, Mairangi Bay’s Phil Chisholm in the quarter-final, and Takapuna’s draw bowl specialist, Gordon Jenkins, in the semi-final.

The win over Chisholm was especially spectacular, for Chisholm, another highly promising player, was holding the win at 20-17, when Rainsford drove the kitty into the ditch to pick up three shots to force an extra end, where two immaculate draws gave him the win.

Whittaker, only a third year player, made the final with a brave semi-final win over Browns Bay’s well performed Willie McIvor, who has returned to serious competition after a season or two off with a serious shoulder injury.