The popularity of any event is measured by the number of entries received and this is well illustrated by the support received for the recent Southland Mixed Pairs competition and this weekend's Gore 2-day Pairs tournament.
Fine weather greeted the 86 teams who lined up on six greens throughout Central-Western for the qualifying rounds for the Southland Mixed Pairs in a bid to win the right to represent Southland in the Pathway regional playoffs.
An unprecedented eight teams qualifying from just one green bolstered the final number of qualifiers to 21 and ensured a long day with five rounds needed in blustery conditions at the Kew green, before a winner was decided.
In the semi-finals Jason and Nicola Heffer (Northend) were in top form against Helen Hall (Waverley) and Lindsay Hall (Riversdale) collecting three sets of five shots on their way to a resounding 19-7 victory after eleven of the scheduled fourteen ends.
The second semi was a different affair with Stuart Dickson (Waikiwi) and Pam Calder (Invercargill) locked in a battle with Jan and Graham Low (Te Rangi) and the scores locked at 10-all with one end to play but it was the Dickson pair that prevailed to take their place in the final.
In the final, Dickson and Calder raced to a 6-nil lead after just two ends but the Heffers responded scoring seven unanswered shots on the next five ends.
A four on the next end restored the lead for Dickson but it was the eleventh end that changed the game - with his last bowl Jason Heffer produced a magnificent shot to trail the jack into the ditch to secure four shots, but with two bowls each left to play, Calder conjured up a sensational response to push the Heffer shot bowl into the ditch and sit millimetres off the ditch for the shot and a lead Dickson and Calder would not relinquish, winning 17-9. This was Calder's third title for the season and her second within four days.
This weekend the Gore Bowling Club will host a record number of entries for their pairs event with six greens in action over the both days - a remarkable effort for all involved and deserving of some 'summer' weather for all contestants.
Bowlers will saddened by the recent news of the passing of Ross Stewart a long-time Southland representative and staunch bowling enthusiast who represented New Zealand on the international scene at the renowned World Bowls Tour in Britain on more than one occasion. Our condolences are extended to the Stewart family - Ross will be sadly missed by all bowlers.
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