Atrocious weather conditions forced the players indoors for the finals of the Southland Pairs Championships last Sunday.
In the open ladies event the Balfour pair of Averil Fowler and Sue Kincaid justified their selections as the pairs combination in the Southland Inter-centre team by defending the title they won last year when they downed Judy Whipps (Waverley) and Karen White in the final.
Whipps raced to a 5-nil lead in the opening three ends but Fowler retaliated, scoring on six consecutive ends to turn the advantage in Balfour's favour, holding on to win 14-9.
Shona Klimeck (Gore RSA) and Yvonne Williams and Lynne Beardsley (Invercargill) and Glenice Paisley were the beaten semi-finalists.
In the men's open final Stuart Dickson (Waikiwi) and Bruce Ross were pitted against their semifinal opponents from last season, Makarewa's Wayne Pope and Dawson McDonald. The Dickson pair were in commanding form from the outset and led 7-nil after five ends but the Pope- skipped duo steadily pegged back the margin to tie the game at 12-all on the penultimate end. Pope's second bowl was inch perfect and Dickson's valiant effort with his last bowl was in vain and the Makarewa team claimed the title 13-12 - the only time they were ahead in the game. Northend's Stu Le Breton and Jason Heffer and Sheldon Bagrie-Howley (Gore) and Tony Cockerill were the third equal teams.
In a repeat of the previous year's final in the development ladies event, Waverley's Julie O'Connell and Wendy Sutherland were again triumphant accounting for Angela Francis (Te Rangi) and Gill Swale with a 15-12 final scoreline. O'Connell and Sutherland led from the start and held a comfortable 13-4 lead before withstanding a late rally from Francis to retain their title.
Beaten semifinalists were Barbara Wilson (Waverley) and Jo Hamill and Margie Stenton (Waverley) and Ngaire Moreton. Last season Otatara's Scott Ramsay and Craig Tinker were in opposing teams in the development men's final but this year they combined to win the title in dramatic fashion, scoring three shots on each of the last two ends to defeat Geoff Scully (Waverley) and Russell Hill who had led throughout. Up 14-9 with two ends to play, the Waverley pairing were unable to restrict the final Otatara effort allowing Tinker to retain his crown. Simon Swale (Te Rangi) and Gavin Levy and Dave Mitchell (Hokonui) and Grant Hurley had to be content with equal third.
This weekend club teams will contest the zone finals for the National Inter-club competition, with the winners going on to play in the New Zealand finals in Palmerston North. Te Rangi and Northend will contest the respective Division 1 and Division 2 men's competition at Balclutha and Invercargill and Waikiwi the equivalent ladies events at Waihopai and Kew greens on Saturday and Sunday.
- The Southland Times