North Harbour teams excel at the National Interclub 7s – Lindsay Knight
North Harbour’s two representatives at the national sevens interclub finals in Christchurch, Browns Bay and Takapuna, did the centre proud if not quite delivering on achieving the major prize.
The Browns Bay men’s team of Colin Rogan (singles), Jean Viljoen and David McMurchy (pairs) and Neil Fisher, John Walker, Lindsay Gilmore and Brian Wilson (fours) made the semi-finals, only to go down to Nelson’s Stoke two games to one.
The Takapuna’s women’s team of Selina Smith (singles), Lisa Parlane and Anne Dorreen (pairs) and Wendy Jensen, Robyne Walker, Adele Ineson and Connie Mathieson (fours), went one better and actually made the final.
Until the last ends it was well in contention in this against a strong Nelson side inspired by two of New Zealand’s greatest ever women’s bowlers, multiple world and Commonwealth Games champions Jo Edwards and Val Smith.
When Selina Smith headed Edwards 11-8 in halfway stages it appeared as if the title could be coming Harbour’s way. But Edwards recovered like the champion she has been to win 21-17 and while Parlane and Dorreen won the pairs the Val Smith- skipped Nelson four held on to beat the Takapuna four by two shots.
It was still an outstanding achievement by the Takapuna women who finished a close second in their qualifying section and then impressed in post-section with wins over Queenstown (Central Otago) and Naenae (Wellington) to make the final.
It was an especially memorable tournament for Selina Smith, whose only loss was to Jo Edwards and for the consistent pairing of Parlane and Dorreen who also lost just the one game.
Considering the high quality of players in all sides that is a remarkable feat.
The Browns Bay four of Fisher, Walker, Gilmore and Wilson, also did considerably more than what could be expected of them, winning all seven of their games, including the lost semi to Stoke whose singles player was Black Jack and former world champion, Shannon McIllroy.
In the quarter-finals Browns Bay beat Bay of Plenty’s Mount Maunganui, with Rogan winning his singles against a top player with national titles to his credit, Steve Beel.
And Browns Bay did well to even qualify, especially as it was in a strong section which included the eventual title winner, Canterbury’s Elmwood Park, which had Gary Lawson skipping its pair and former national champion Kelvin Scott as its singles specialist.