Home advantage earns place in the nationals

A revamped men's seven and the reliable representative women's team took full advantage of playing on home ground in the national intercentre regional finals at the Northern club yesterday.

The women put the sword to their challengers, with a comprehensive clean sweep in the first two rounds which made an early finish to their competition.

Fiona Sayles (singles), Sharon Sims and Chris Quinn (pairs) were aided by the four headed by Fran Frith, and with Sheryn Blake, Mere Fryer and Georgie Kahui-Rogers, in making life miserable for the visitors, Gisborne-East Coast, Hawke's Bay and Wairarapa, which each won just two of their six matches.

They will join the men's seven at the national finals in Auckland on March 24-25.

Though Ross Ellery lost to Ian Monaghan (Wairarapa) in the first round, he made a strong comeback against Robin Jefferson from 17-6 down to win 25-20, providing the buffer for the men to go into the final round with a three-point lead over Hawke's Bay.

That was Ellery's only lost.

The fours were handsome winners over Gisborne East Coast and Hawke's Bay, but lost to Wairarapa when the competition had already been decided.

The new-look pairing of Shane Rogers and Pat Horgan was an unqualified success, with dominant wins 19-14 (H Bay), 21-17 (Wairarapa) and 20-7 (GEC).

Rogers obviously enjoyed playing with Horgan, while Gordon and Wynks in the front of Phil Skoglund's four found their rhythm early.

Chris Barrett at three was a steady foil for his skip.

The Northern women went through to the inter-club finals with a decisive performance on wet greens at Palmerston North on Saturday.

The competition was restricted to games of 1 hour 20 minutes because of the 2pm start, and Sayles preceded her Sunday form with three wins, as did the pair of Sims and Noeleen Elston.

Probably the most popular result came when Wairarapa won through in division 1 for the men.

Wairarapa has long been the "easy-beats" in recent years, but long-serving singles player Monaghan said the selection of a couple of enthusiastic new bowlers helped them to their success on Saturday.

"It is good to have these young players such as Scott MacKenzie [pairs] and Richard Anderson [fours] in the team make-up."

Monaghan admitted he has been part of the Wairarapa centre for 33 years and had accumulated more than 40 centre titles.

"This victory today has been long time coming.

"We have been bowed before but never beaten," he quipped.

Results. –

Inter-club – Women Div 1: Manawatu 14 + 66, Wairarapa 10 - 2, Gisborne East Coast 8 - 20, Hawke's Bay 4 - 34. Div 2: Hawke's Bay 10 + 42, Manawatu 6 - 1, GEC 2 - 41.

Men Div 1: Wairarapa 15 + 31, Hawke's Bay 10 + 11, Manawatu 6 - 6, GEC 5 - 36. Div 2: Hawke's Bay 8 + 24, Manawatu 4 - 4, GEC 2 - 20.

Inter-centre – Women: Manawatu 12 + 52, GEC 4 + 6, Wairarapa 4 - 15, Hawke's Bay 4 - 43.

Men: Manawatu 14 + 57, Hawke's Bay 9 + 3, Wairarapa 8 - 13, GEC 5 - 47.

Manawatu Standard