Championship entries continue to increase

After the extreme highs of two national championships over recent weeks it was back to normal and the local competition for most Southland indoor bowlers.

The increase in championship entries and support for the nationals continued with 45 combinations lining up for the Harcourts-sponsored Southland Pairs Championship and in a competitive field only 14 teams qualified for the knockout phase of the competition.

In the semifinals Jan Low and Warwick Gray comfortably accounted for Mua Toomata and Joanne Wilson 12 shots to 4 and in the second semifinal Rhonda Milne and Jan Lamb squeezed past the last husband and wife, and winners of the Robb Trophy, Greg and Andrea Heads, 8-4. An intense final ensued, with first one team gaining an advantage then the other, but neither team was able to drive home their ascendancy. The final result hinged on the outcome of the last of the nine-end final and it was the Low/Gray pairing that won an enthralling final 7-6.

Onslow Club's Trevor Burgess will represent Southland for the third successive year at the New Zealand Junior (under 18) Championships at North Wellington in September after he recently won the Southland Junior Singles. Burgess started strongly against Kieran Butt (Wallacetown) in the final but had to withstand a spirited comeback during the middle stages and hold the scores level at 5-all after eight of the 12 ends.

Burgess regained his composure and closed out the game, scoring shots on three of the remaining ends to take the win 9-6. The beaten semifinalists, Karlan Bennie and Matthew Heads were the only other qualifiers. Jason Gray won the plate event, 10-4 over Jack Baird in the final.

This weekend another round of sub-centre championship titles will be decided and the team of Gary, Graham and Jan Low and Jennifer Beattie will contest the regional playoffs in Alexandra for a place in the New Zealand Mixed Fours Finals in New Plymouth at the end of the month.

On Sunday Gary Low will begin his quest to retain the New Zealand title he won last year in the Henselite Champion of Champion Singles event.

The Southland Times