Eastern combinations stole the limelight last weekend winning both the champion-of-champion lawn bowls titles to be decided at the Woodlands green.
On Saturday in fading light Sheldon Bagrie-Howley (Gore) won his first Southland open title when he captured the singles crown in a stunning final over Waikiwi's Bryan Harvey 21-20.
Bagrie-Howley made all the early running and lead 6-1 after five ends but Harvey narrowed the margin to one with a maximum four shots on the next end. At 11-11 after 12 ends, Harvey applied the pressure to lead 15-11 in the race to 21 but Bagrie-Howley, who led for Harvey in the recent inter-centre, responded by scoring three, two and another three shots on consecutive ends to reclaim the lead 19-15.
Harvey lifted again to draw level at 20-all, but it was Bagrie-Howley who sealed the win with his third bowl, a back toucher that Harvey was unable to counter.
In the semifinals, Harvey accounted for Graham Low (Te Rangi) 21-14 ,scoring seven unanswered shots on three ends with the scores locked at 14-14. In the second semi, Bagrie-Howley led 20-13 but had to overcome a late surge from fellow Eastern player Darren Broome (Hokonui) before winning 21-19.
Darren Broome won his second title for the season and atoned for his semifinal loss the previous day when he combined with Hokonui's Fred Evans and Justin McLean to win the champion of champions triples in another exciting final over Steve Sanders (Te Rangi), Earl Doidge and Ali Stuart 13 shots to 12.
The Sanders trio was in charge early in the game leading 6-2 after four ends and extended their lead to 9-4 after eight.
Three shots from the Evans-skipped combination on end 12 allowed Hokonui back into the game and with the scores locked at 11-11 with two ends to play and then 12-12 after the final end an extra end was needed before the final outcome was decided in favour of Evans.
Stu Dickson (Waikiwi), Bruce Ross and Kerry Flowers were beaten by Te Rangi 19-12 and Hokonui were 18-13 victors over Kew's Barry Stewart, Tony Brookland and John Wilson in the semifinals.
Recently, South Otago hosted the Southern Zone playoffs for all of Southland's championship winners with just one Southland combination successfully winning through to the New Zealand finals at Dunedin in June.
The ladies triples team from the Invercargill Club, Pat Clark, Pam Calder and Glenice Paisley, will be the sole Southland representatives in the finals. Two other Southland titleholders went close - Paisley in the ladies singles and the men's pair of Wayne Pope and Dawson McDonald both finishing runners-up in their events against the provincial champions from South Canterbury, North Otago, Dunedin, South Otago and Central Otago.
This weekend the Waverley green will host the second-to-last event of the season, the champion of champion pairs ahead of the fours event rescheduled for early May.
- The Southland Times