Stoke bowlers to next phase

The Stoke Bowling Club's men's division one interclub team began the defence of their Bowls New Zealand national interclub title with a comfortable win in the local interclub competition.

It was expected that the Nelson Club with Bowls Nelson representative players Gary Watson, Richard Collett, Andrew Curtain and Murray Scott joining the club this season would provide tough competition for the Stoke team. But singles player Shannon McIlroy spearheaded the Stoke attack, winning all his games including a narrow 25-23 win over former New Zealand singles champion and Black Jack Richard Collett.

The Stoke fours skipped by John Haddock also went through undefeated including a first round win over the Nelson Club four skipped by Gary Watson.

The Stoke men's division two team also were successful in winning division two with the Stoke third team runner-up. The biggest surprise of the weekend, however, was the win by the Stoke women's division one team when they upset the titleholders from the past three seasons, the very strong United Women's team, winning by one game in a very tight competition.

The Stoke women's pair of skip Rhonda Bellis and Barbara Thomason was undefeated over the weekend and singles player Helen Moseley suffered only one loss and that was to world No 1 Jo Edwards. The Stoke four skipped by Diane Merritt also only dropped one game when they lost a tight game to Motueka.

Division two women was won by United and all four winning teams will represent the Nelson Centre at the regional playoffs in Greymouth on March 1 and 2.