Young guns get on a winning roll

JONATHAN MILLMOW
Last updated 05:00 04/03/2014

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Can you guess the combined age of the winners of the Wellington Centre Open Pairs men's bowls tournament on Sunday?

If you thought 100, fair enough. The correct answer is 32.

Seamus Curtin, 13, and Lachlan Gordon, 19, had nerves but no care for reputations as they swept their way to a scarcely believable victory at the Naenae Bowling Club.

Left in their wake in the quarterfinals was Wellington's best bowler Rob Ashton and his partner Rob Veale. Mind you it was close, just one point in it.

The young guns then knocked over the seasoned Johnsonville pair of Bruce Henderson and Robbie Bennett by two in the semifinals before running away with the final 16-7 over Upper Hutt's Maurice Picard and Jim Bullen.

Curtin is a cracker. He has a sense of humour to go with his good touch on the green.

He said he was "nervous but excited" before the final.

Asked how Ashton and others handled losing to a year nine student at Aotea College, Curtin says "they are quiet after".

For their success, Curtin and Gordon get their names in lights, a date in the regional pairs and $400 prizemoney each.

"You get a voucher that can be spent at Pak N Save, Briscoes, Bowls Specialists and Liquorland.

"I don't think I'll be going to Liquorland.

"I'll probably use it to buy some new [bowls] shoes."

Curtin is rolling in cash this week. He lets on that his mother Rachel said before the tournament that she would match any prizemoney he won at the Open Pairs.

"She's my coach but she never thought I'd win it."

Curtin (Plimmerton) and Gordon (Johnsonville) play at different clubs but team up under a 'Jacgals' banner which is an unofficial club for Under 20 players looking for a bowling partner at centre events.

It is the brainchild of Bowls Wellington administrator Don McMurray and the title is a clever play on male (jacks) and females (gals).

"Some people don't ask us kids to play," Curtin said.

"I would've found someone but Lachie asked me to play. I was actually going to ask him so it worked perfectly."

The pair met three years ago and have developed a friendship.

Gordon is a former Tawa College student now doing a sports exercise degree in Palmerston North. He appears to have a cool head on his shoulders.

"We didn't expect to win the overall thing so it was definitely a good day," Gordon said.

Gordon is the skip. Curtin comes to him with ideas and they respect each other.

"He's pretty mature for a 13-year-old," Gordon said.

"He's a really consistent draw bowler and both of us read a head quite well so that helps us."

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The last word goes to Ashton, the holder of 31 centre titles and stopped in his tracks going for No 32 by Wellington's young guns.

"You have to take it in your stride," Ashton said.

"The pair of them showed no nerves and played very, very well.

"We were up by four or five against them but they clawed it back. They beat a few good players on the way through so I guess you have to say they deserved it."

- Fairfax Media

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