Old ducks spring biggest surprise in fours

GRANT HASSALL
Last updated 05:00 08/01/2013

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Rightly or wrongly, they have been branded the old ducks.

Yesterday four good old bowlers from Vogeltown turned the women's fours on its head at the New Zealand bowls championships in New Plymouth.

Skip Shirley Marsters, 75, Helen Grey, 81, Val Robertson, 79, and Val Webster, 73, combined age 308, caused the major surprise as they became one of three Taranaki teams to qualify for this morning's semifinals.

The Vogeltown players not only pushed aside three teams during the day, they also beat the strong wind and still seemed fresh when their last game concluded at 7.30pm last night.

In the quarterfinals, the side beat Sue Burnard (Frankton Railway) and her champion team of two seasons ago, Mandy Boyd, Angela Boyd and Leanne Curry 17-10.

Marsters grabbed a four on the 8th end to lead 10-4, but Burnard replied immediately with a four to close the margin.

After 13 ends the game had closed up to 12-10. But Vogeltown won the last five ends, all with singles, to take the game. The crucial end was the penultimate one. Vogeltown led by five shots when Angela Boyd put the jack in the ditch for three shots.

But Grey drew a mighty shot almost on the ditch board. And there it stayed, with Burnard astray with her two drives. The tidy Webster drew well on the last end to sew up the game.

On the adjacent rink, Paritutu's Heather Johns and her side of Val Keightley, Debbie Smith and Carolyn Harris came from nowhere to deny Dale Rayner (Johnsonville) and her powerful side of Clare McCaul, Amy Brenton and Hayley May 19-18.

Rayner led 17-2 after 10 ends and it seemed only a matter of time.

But Johns and her crew, who won the Taranaki title last January, are a tenacious bunch. They took the next seven ends, including a five on the 13th head, to hit the lead at 18-17.

McCaul drew the shot on the last end to tie the game up.

On the extra end, Smith drew the shot, Johns sealed the deal with a front toucher and Rayner could not recover.

The other Taranaki semifinalist is New Plymouth's Liz Johnstone and her team of Joy Clouston, Lyn Weir and Faye Gecse.

But though Taranaki does provide three semifinalists, the favoured team remains Dunsandel's Sandra Keith. Keith is joined by Serena Matthews - the duo won the pairs on Friday - Pam Clarke and Karolyn Boon.

Keith made the last four with a 22-14 win over Anne Bateman (Hikurangi) while Johnstone defeated Diane Lawrence (Arapohue) 14-11.

DRAW

Draw for semifinals this morning at Paritutu, starting at 8.30am:

L Johnstone, J Clouston, L Weir, F Gecse (New Plymouth) v S Keith, S Matthews, P Clarke, K Boon (Dunsandel)

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H Johns, V Keightley, D Smith, C Harris (Paritutu) v S Marsters, H Grey, V Robertson, V Webster (Vogeltown).

- Taranaki Daily News

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