Summary of National Fours by Lindsay Knight
The mark of a sporting champion is how well he or she responds to a setback and a disappointment.
This is a quality of character which has been demonstrated in abundance by North Harbour’s Selina Smith, who played at lead in the Sandra Keith-skipped composite which won the national women’s title at Mt Maunganui at the weekend.
For Selina it capped a week or two when she has experienced all the lows and highs which come with sport, especially at its highest levels.
After representing New Zealand at last month’s Transtasman series she suddenly found herself dropped for the upcoming world championships.
But as her coach and mentor Graham Dorreen observes with yet another national title she has responded to that and answered her critics in the most eloquent way.
And as Graham also observes her record now is such that at 25 she must surely be a Black Jack again.
Selina’s win with the Keith-skipped four gives her second national title this season following her win in the New Year in the pairs with Katelyn Inch. She now is only win away from achieving a national gold star having won the singles in 2017 and her first fours title in 2014.
The reasons for her omission from the world championships remain inexplicable. But it cannot be on grounds of inconsistency and lack of performance. No other women’s bowler over the past couple of seasons has had the same record at national level.
Harbour’s other Black Jack, Wendy Jensen, also unlucky to be left out of the world championship squad, did not have the same fortune at the recent national fours. The composite four she skipped failed to make the play-offs.
But her performances and that of her team were not all that dismal. On the last day of qualifying the Jensen four failed to win a game but were up again stiff competition in fours skipped by multiple national champion Mandy Boyd, Commonwealth Games gold medallist Judy Howat and the eventual champion four of Keith. All the games were lost narrowly, the last to Keith by 21-20.
The other top effort by a Harbour player was that of Takapuna’s Anne Dorreen, who played at lead in the Margaret O’Connor-skipped four of Central Otago bowlers. Last year this composite made the final, but this year went out in the quarter-finals to the Keith line-up.
Tony Grantham was the best performed Harbour male player, leading in the Shannon McIlroy-skipped four which made the semi-finals. Three Harbour teams skipped by Garry Banks, David Eades and Gerard van Tilborg made post-section only to go out early.