Nelson's women have failed to defend their national interprovincial bowls title after losing to Canterbury in yesterday's final at the Howick Bowling Club in Auckland.
Nelson's men never got past the quarterfinals, leaving the women to attempt a second consecutive national title. But despite a 22-20 win for Val Smith in the singles over her Black Jacks team-mate, Jan Khan, Nelson's pairs and fours combinations couldn't match their Canterbury opponents to hand the Cantabrians a deserved title. The singles match was not completed since Canterbury could not be caught, although Nelson was accredited victory.
Serena Matthews and Sandra Keith won the crucial pairs game against Amy McIlroy and Jo Edwards 21-17, with Canterbury's second win coming from Bev Morel's four.
Matthews and Keith made a slow start, trailing McIlroy and Edwards 4-0 after three ends in the final.
"It was only early days," Keith said afterwards. "Serena led well. It was never going to be easy against the quality of the players we were playing."
After eight ends, the Canterbury duo had turned the score around to lead 12-4. Nelson closed the margin to 12-9 and the contest was still alive with Canterbury up 17-15 with just four ends remaining. But Matthews and Keith cribbed the margin out to six shots playing the last end.
In the fours, Morel's side of Pam Phair, Maureen Doherty and Jan Shirley held the upper hand throughout against Nelson's Colleen Earl, Mary Orbell, Barbara McGregor and Judy Heeman, winning 14-9. Nelson had emerged from section play top of their group before eliminating Manawatu in the quarterfinals. Smith beat Feona Sayles 25-20 in the singles and Edwards and McIlroy survived a tough battle before beating Mere Fryer and Janeen Noble 14-13 in the pairs. Nelson's four lost 15-6 to Sheryn Blake, Anna Davis, Robyn Schischka and Georgie Kahui-Rogers.
They followed a similar pattern in their semifinal win over Northland where Smith beat Sue Wightman 25-15, Edwards and McIlroy beat Manu Timoti and Marny Jones in another tight 18-17 result and the four lost 18-12 to Linda Pedro, Anne Bateman, Ann Halls and Diane Lawrence.
Nelson selector John Caldwell said despite the obvious disappointment of not retaining the title, he was delighted with the team's overall effort and their performance against a strong Canterbury lineup.
After qualifying first in section four, the Nelson men were eliminated by Dunedin in the quarterfinals where the pair of Andrew Curtain and Gary Watson picked up their only win with a 24-8 win over Shaun Scott and Mark Watt. McIlroy lost his singles match 25-11 to Mike Kernaghan and the Richard Collett-skipped four of Peter Hodson, Murray Scott and Jimmy Pugh went down 13-8 to Kerry Becks, Regan Larkin, Ross Brown and Craig McCaw. Dunedin won the men's final, beating Manawatu 2-1 after winning both the singles and fours.
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