Able-bodied pair flattened in final
Barry Wynks and Mark Noble might be destined to play in disabled bowls at this year's Commonwealth Games but tell that to the rest of the very able-bodied Manawatu open pairs field.
Wynks and Noble won the final 18-11 at Terrace End on Saturday over Chris Barrett and Graeme Cooley (Palmerston North).
The win evoked this text message from a bowling observer: "Well done. Stop picking on the able-bodied all the time".
For Wynks (Terrace End) it was his eighth Manawatu centre title and the pairs had been the only one he hadn't won.
For Noble (Northern), also a chess grandmaster, it was his 17th title in either Manawatu or Wellington.
Wynks might have a shortened right arm and right leg and Noble has pronounced leg problems, but they made no race of the final. Barrett and Cooley did lead 6-4 early on, but that was it.
The drama came in the semifinal against Shane Rogers and Clayton Simpson when Wynks and Noble were 14-13 down playing the last end. They snatched a two after Noble's final bowl had somehow stopped beside Wynks' shot bowl, to win 15-14; "never in doubt" Wynks laughed.
They had presented a target of two bowls for Simpson to remove, but missed.
Wynks' only loss of the three-day tournament was in their first game of section play on Thursday, 21-12 to guess who, Barrett and Cooley.
"Both teams joked and said, ‘we'll see you in the final'.
"We even mentioned it again after the draw for the first round of knockout was done."
The tournament had all of the top Manawatu bowlers aside from Philip Skoglund.
Both Wynks and Noble are specialist skips, so in pairs they have to take turns at leading, which Wynks did this time.
The calendar gets congested and confusing for both men from now on. No one seems to know when Noble will play the deferred Manawatu singles final.
They head off to the Taranaki fours from January 20, then to a Commonwealth Games team camp on a slow green in Auckland next month and to Melbourne soon after.
Noble is also in the Northern interclub team off to the regionals and if they win that he will have to play the national playoffs.
In between they need practice on the makeshift slow green at Takaro to prepare them for Melbourne and the Games at Glasgow.
Both men are also in the Manawatu representative side.
"I don't know if we will be considered, going backwards and forwards [between surfaces]," Wynks said.
"We have made ourselves available for everything and will see what happens."
To reach the semifinals, Barrett got the winning shot with his last bowl against Keith Walker (Northern) while Simpson drove the jack into the ditch with his last to deny Phil Skoglund.
The Manawatu centre open triples (January 18-20) have been scrubbed because only seven teams had entered.
Quarterfinals: Michael and Andrew Bowey bt Brian Looker and Alistair Anderson 19-6; Chris Barrett and Graeme Cooley bt Keith Walker and Graham Black 15-14; Shane Rogers and Clayton Simpson beat Phil Skoglund and Glen McGovern 20-16; Barry Wynks and Mark Noble beat Trevor Butcher and Eric Cairncross 17-8.
Semifinals: Wynks bt Rogers 15-14, Barrett bt Bowey 19-12.
Final: Wynks bt Barrett 18-11.