Nelson teams keep their intercentre hopes high

The Nelson men's and women's representative bowls teams both remain in contention for today's quarterfinals after the women in particular produced some outstanding form yesterday on day two of the national intercentre bowls championships in Wellington.

Both were lying second in their respective sections, with the top two teams in each of the four sections in both divisions qualifying for the playoffs.

With Jo Edwards winning all three of her singles matches, Nelson's women dropped only two of their nine matches, with the pair of Colleen Earl and Gemma Watts also drawing 16-all in round three with Gisborne-East Coast's Ronnie Crone and Bobbie Beattie.

Edwards had opened her account in section four at Wilton with a handy 25-17 win over Manawatu's Feona Sayles before also beating Dunedin's Sue Hodges 25-8 and Northland's Diane Strawbridge 25-12.

Nelson's new-look four of skip Helen Moseley, Kirsten Griffin, Mary Orbell and Barbara Thomason began with a confidence-boosting 16-11 win over Gisborne-East Coast, Nelson's first round loss coming in the pairs where they went down 16-11 to Northland's Ann Muir and Pam Brewster.

Earl and Watts recovered with a 22-11 second round win over Auckland's Karen Hema and Rae Hammond before ending the day with their third round draw.

The four backed up well with a 20-7 second round win over Manawatu before losing their third round clash 14-10 against Dunedin.

Dunedin led the section on 14 points ahead of Nelson on 13 with Auckland on 10.

Meanwhile, the Nelson men were lying second behind home team Wellington in their section at Naenae, Wellington sitting on 21 points after five rounds, with Nelson on 19 and Auckland on 16.

Lying second after Thursday's opening two rounds, Nelson had a chance of a cleansweep in round three this morning after the pair of Andrew Curtain and Gary Watson beat Auckland's Greg Ruaporo and Mike Bradshaw 21-20 and the Richard Collett-skipped four of Jimmy Pugh, Pete Hodson and Murray Scott put away South Otago 18-9. But with Nelson's singles player Shannon McIlroy holding a 19-18 lead on the final end against South Canterbury, an accurate drive by his opponent killed the end and forced a replay.

McIlroy again held shot after his final bowl but with his opponent holding second and third shots, another successful run removed McIlroy's shot bowl to give South Canterbury a crucial 20-19 win.

Curtain and Watson had earlier recovered from a sizeable deficit to score two fives, a three and a four over the final ends to secure their one-shot win.

McIlroy won his two remaining games, comfortably beating his brother Adam McIlroy from Gisborne-East Coast 25-8 before beating Auckland's Jordan King 25-17 in their fifth round duel.

Curtain and Watson remained unbeaten for the day, continuing with wins over South Canterbury (18-16) and Bay of Plenty (19-14) in another two tight contests. The four had the fifth round bye.

Nelson's cause was helped by Auckland losing all three of their fifth round matches, although with two byes coming in today's final two rounds, Nelson still had plenty of work ahead to qualify.

The Nelson Mail