Team's trip to nationals proves worthwhile

STRONG CONTENDER: Manawatu fours skip Pat Horgan believes there is plenty more to come from Manawatu's representative teams.
STRONG CONTENDER: Manawatu fours skip Pat Horgan believes there is plenty more to come from Manawatu's representative teams.

A far as experienced Manawatu fours skip Pat Horgan was concerned, having to pay $130 to get to the national intercentre tournament in Auckland was worth it.

That was the money all 14 men and women had to pay to help cover the total costs of $7000.

The men were runners-up to Dunedin in the final and the women lost only to overall runners-up, Nelson.

Horgan believes there is plenty of life left in Manawatu at the elite level.

"It was a very good experience, as long as Manawatu learn from it," he said. "We can improve.

He would like to see a debrief and a bigger entourage with the team, as most other teams had.

In the extreme heat and with bowlers strewn all over the place, it was difficult for one manager to attend to everyone.

"It was also the first time Manawatu had come anywhere near winning anything away from home," he said.

Manawatu have won the intercentre on their home greens, most recently in Palmerston North in 2010 and 2011, but some top bowlers believed they would never do it outside their province.

"We almost proved that wrong," Horgan said.

In section play his fours and singles player Ross Ellery won four from five, losing only to Thames Valley. The pairs of Philip Skoglund and Craig Gush won 1 games from five and they later switched positions. Although it was a staggered draw, Manawatu had topped Canterbury, strewn with New Zealand bowlers, Dunedin, Waikato, Gisborne-East Coast and Thames Valley in section play.

Manawatu could have perished in their quarterfinal against Southland but the Southland pairs skip missed with two run shots.

Manawatu were never in danger against Bay of Plenty in the semifinal. Horgan's fours had a loss recorded against them but the game was called off with Ellery 18-3 up early and the pairs racing to a 17-1 lead.

The tightest game in the final, after Ellery had lost to unbeaten Mike Kernaghan, was the fours game that went Dunedin's way when they took the final three ends after trailing 11-8. Dunedin won 12-11 but, going for the win, a late draw shot by Horgan could easily have picked up three for the draw.

Skoglund and Gush might then have had a say in the outcome, because their game was not completed.

"If I had drawn the shot, it would have been all on."

He liked the format but found it sad 16 of the 24 teams had to finish a day early, at 1.30pm on Saturday.

Manawatu Standard