Six players were crowned Southland Singles Champion after their respective finals at the Northend Bowling Club recently.
In the open ladies event, Carmel Stewart (Waverley) was thwarted in her endeavours to achieve back-to-back titles by a dominant performance from Glenice Paisley (Invercargill). Stewart picked up two shots on the first end but Paisley prevailed on each of the next 12 ends to lead 19-2 in the race to 21 shots. Paisley was not to be denied and claimed an emphatic win three ends later. Paisley had earlier beaten Maree Jones (Waverley) 21-11 and Stewart accounted for Pam Calder (Invercargill) 21-19 in their corresponding semifinal encounters.
Darren Broome (Hokonui) captured the men's open championship 21-17 over Craig Merrilees (Waikiwi) after a valiant fightback by Merrilees. Broome was the aggressor in the early stages of the final and collected four shots on the sixth end to lead 12-4. A second maximum on the 10th end enabled Broome to extend his lead to 19-8 but Merrilees responded to score on the next five ends and reduce the deficit to just two shots before a Broome upshot turned the game back his way and allowed him to round out the win with singles on the next two ends.
In the semifinals, Merrilees was too consistent for Ian McCallum (Northend) at 21-14, while Broome had to endure a titanic struggle with Roger Stevens (Waikwi) over 28 ends and turn around an 11-shot deficit to win 21-19.
Craig Tinker (Otatara) showed his potential for higher honours in the future in securing a 21-15 win over Iain Walker (Waikiwi) in the intermediate men's event. Walker started the stronger but Tinker remained in touch throughout the game and applied the pressure to take the win, scoring on eight of the final nine ends.
Hugh Andrews (Waihopai) and Trevor Burgess (Te Rangi) were the beaten semifinalists.
The intermediate ladies title was won by Claire McKee (Riversdale), who beat Bronwyn Stevens (Te Rangi). McKee raced to a 12-4 lead after nine ends but Stevens edged her way back into the game scoring on five consecutive ends to close to 16-13 after 18 ends. Another tight battle ensued before McKee closed in on the title with four singles on consecutive ends and a 21-17 final result.
The novice ladies title was taken out by Barbara Wilson (Waverley), who scored consistently throughout the final to beat Gill Swale (Te Rangi) 21-13, and two Winton RSA clubmates fought out the novice men's final, with Andrew Johnstone proving too strong in the end for Darryl Pinn, negotiating a 21-12 triumph.
Wendy Sutherland (Waverley), Liz Tippett (Waikiwi), Phil McDonald (Northend) and Trevor Kean (Limehills) made it through to their respective semifinals.
Time to wish all bowlers festive greetings and best wishes for bowling success in the new year. Good luck to all those competing in Dunedin at the New Zealand Championships, which begin on December 28 and continue through to January 9 - Southland is long overdue for a win at this event.
- Fairfax Media