Burnside's Mandy Boyd ended a run of four successive losses in finals at the New Zealand bowls championships by skipping her side to victory in the women's fours in Dunedin yesterday.
Boyd's side of Nelsonians Amy McIlroy and Gemma Watts (both United) and Selina Goddard (Carlton Cornwall) posted a thrilling 20-18 victory over Sue Hodges (Outram) in the final of the Heartland Bank event.
It was nail-biting stuff, though, with the Boyd side scoring a three on the last end of the final to do it. They trailed by one shot at the commencement of the head and in doing so denied Hodges and her three team-mates from Taieri, Judy Robertson, Jean Young and Beth Brown, their first national titles.
It was the Dunedin side that held the upper hand for most of the match, with Boyd's side hitting the front for the first time only after the completion of the 16th end.
Hodges was greatly assisted by fives on the fourth and ninth ends of the final, while Boyd interspersed that with one of her own on the seven head.
The second five the Hodges side scored opened up a 14-9 lead but slowly Boyd's young side - with a combined age of just 89 years to make them the youngest winning four in history - clawed back into the game. They secured singles on each of the next five ends to tie the game up.
Hodges drew a mighty shot on the next end when four down to arrest the decline. But the Boyd side was now playing with greater consistency and two top shots from the skip herself saw them grab a three on the 16th end. However, Hodges again rose to the occasion on the penultimate head.
Two down on the change-over, Hodges knocked one of her own team's bowls up for shot and then trailed the jack into the ditch for three.
But she could not reproduce those heroics on the last end, with Boyd's team dominating the head to claim three shots and the title.
Boyd also won the fours the last time the nationals were held in Dunedin, in 2011, but since then has been runner-up four times. It was the first title for the other three members of the side.
A seven-end winning streak that netted 14 points carried Michael Kernaghan's composite side to an easy 19-10 victory in the men's fours final.
Kernaghan (Kaikorai), Andrew Kelly (Redcliffs), Tony Grantham (Birkenhead) and Michael Nagy (Taren Point) were locked in a close encounter with Doug Thomas (North East Valley) in the final, with the scores 5-5 after seven ends. But then the game changed.
Two down on the changeover, Kernaghan dislodged the jack with his first bowl, before drawing the shot with his second delivery.
That single was followed by another single, a two and then a four, opening up a 13-5 advantage.
Big game experience - all four members of the Kernaghan side have previously tasted success at the nationals - was taking its toll on Thomas and his side of Brendon Hollander (Waihola), Mitchell Will (North East Valley) and Keri Rupene (Taieri).
The Kernaghan side continued to power away with a further six shots on the next three ends blowing the game apart at 19-5. While Thomas added a single, a three and another single, Kernaghan's lead was too great that the last end was not played.
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