Weekend Round Up by Lindsay Knight
Colin Rogan and John Walker, two of North Harbour’s most decorated bowlers, added to their staggering tally of centre titles with a win in the weekend’s Dick Bree men’s triples championship.
The Browns Bay veterans were in impressive form at lead and two in the Neil Fisher skipped combination, which edged out another Browns Bay line-up of two former Black Jacks Tony Grantham and Kerry Chapman, plus youthful lead Jack Green, in the final 15-14.
Though starting well and with a 9-4 lead after six ends, the Grantham triple soon fell away in the testing windy conditions against the steadiness up front of Rogan and Walker in particular.
For Rogan, who has made a welcome return to the centre representative side where his experience will be invaluable, it was his 32nd centre title and for Walker his 24th.
Fisher claimed his fourth Harbour title, but has played most of his bowls, of course, in the Auckland centre having dual membership status with Browns Bay as well as Howick.
In their semi-final the Grantham triple overcome a slow start and a 2-8 deficit to beat Birkenhead’s Peter Nathan, Evan Thomas and Nathan’s son Chad, who is still a junior, 19-13.
But in their semi-final Fisher, Walker and Rogan were never in any trouble against Takapuna’s Graham Skellern, Brett O’Riley and Ray Skoglund with the remarkable consistency of Walker and Rogan key factors in a 23-4 win.
Saturday’s afternoon downpour, which reduced qualifying to just two rounds, had a bigger impact on the women’s centre singles championship, which meant that by Sunday it was possible to find only the four semi-finalists.
The four who are probably the centre’s best women’s players, Takapuna’s internationals Wendy Jensen and Selina Smith, and Orewa’s Elaine McClintock and Lisa Parlane, all made the semis.
However, in the difficult wind none of the top four found it easy in the quarter-finals and in the case of both Smith and Jensen at a late stage in each of their matches upsets were distinctly possible.
Against Helensville’s Deb Presland, Smith was down 18-19 and with two bowls on the head on what proved the last end Presland was holding the game. But with her last bowl Smith brilliantly drove the jack to the ditch for four shots and a 21-19 win.
And against her well performed Takapuna clubmate Connie Mathieson, Jensen was down 15-16. But a misjudgement of her weight saw Mathieson, when only one down, take out her closest bowls and enable Jensen to collect a crucial four.
On the next end she added the two she needed for a 21-16 win.
Other than Presland, all of the quarter-finalists came from either the Takapuna or Orewa clubs. Parlane won her quarter-final 21-14 from Takapuna’s Trish Croot and McClintock beat her Orewa club-mate Jacqueline Broderson 21-16.
The semi-finals and final will be played on March 7 at a yet to be determined venue.