Mens Singles Weekend review – Lindsay Knight

  • February 21, 2022

Helensville’s Bart Robertson added to an already excellent record in North Harbour bowls by winning the centre’s men’s singles championship at Birkenhead at the weekend.

 In an absorbing final, in which his Browns Bay opponent Brian Wilson also won admiration and respect, Robertson won 21-19.

 This was Robertson’s 10th centre title, adding a bar to his gold star. It was also the fifth time he has won the singles championship.

 But to win this season’s title he never had things easy, especially in the semi-final and final.

 Wilson, also a gold-star holder and whose chief forte is probably in the front for Browns Bay’s now almost legendary four of Neil Fisher, John Walker and Colin Rogan, recovered from being well down to actually grab the lead 19-18.

 He was only denied by Robertson’s trademark calm, which the Helensville bowler had earlier shown in his semi-final against Orewa’s Willie McIvor, who was using the same bowls of his celebrated relative by marriage, the late Brent Turner.

 Robertson won this cliff-hanger 21-20 and had to come from a long way down at 12-18 to do so. It was still a mighty effort by McIvor to go so far in the tournament as he only qualified for the play-offs as the best runner-up in section play. In the quarter-finals he gained the major scalp of the redoubtable Colin Rogan, with yet another 21-20 score-line. 

 The championship was studded with similar upsets. Black Jack and North Harbour’s most accomplished bowler of recent years, Birkenhead’s Tony Grantham, failed even to qualify for the final 16, losing in his section to Takapuna’s Brent Malcolm.


In the quarter-finals Birkenhead’s Damon Pierson, after building up a big early lead and then surviving a comeback by Browns Bay’s Fisher, won 21-14, having been stuck on 20 for several ends. He finally gained the winning shot when his thundering drove put the jack in the ditch.

 Pierson, however, didn’t maintain this form in the semi-final, losing decisively to Wilson, who was coming off an epic quarter-final against Takapuna’s Simon Poppleton, which ended in another 21-20 score-line.

 For his part, Poppleton in his round of 16 match against Helensville’s Kylie Clark only just won and, as Pierson had done against Fisher, clinched the result by driving the jack into the ditch when Clark was holding the game.

 Takapuna’s Bob Telfer also made it to the quarter-finals, before being overrun by Robertson, with a meritorious win over his new club-mate, Phillip Skoglund, a member of the famous Manawatu bowling family and a former national champion.

  As well as Grantham missing the play-offs, Takapuna’s national para champion Graham Skellern was another qualifying casualty, failing to win any of his section play matches.