Taranaki claims two - and a bit - titles

'We gave ourselves a chance ... we came back'

MURRAY HILLS
Last updated 05:00 10/01/2013
DAILY NEWS ONLINE

The Paritutu women's fours team took out the national championships on their home ground on Wednesday.

Paritutu Bowls
ROBERT CHARLES/Fairfax NZ
FOUR CHAMPIONS: Paritutu women's latest national champions, from left, Carolyn Harris, Debbie Smith, Val Keightley and Heather Johns (skip).

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Two national bowls titles. No, let's call it three.

The women's open singles, the women's open fours and yes, we'll claim a half share in the men's fours with two of the four from Taranaki.

Only a few days after New Plymouth's Val McEldowney was crowned women's open singles champion, Paritutu's Heather Johns and her team of Val Keightley, Debbie Smith and Carolyn Harris came from 6-0 down to win the women's open fours final on their home green yesterday.

The Paritutu four beat Sandra Keith's four from the Dunsandel club in Christchurch 18-7.

"Unbelievable," Johns said afterwards.

"We gave ourselves a chance. We knew they were good players but we thought we could hold our own against them."

Even when they were 6-0 down, Johns said she wasn't worried.

"We've been there before. We were 17-2 down in one game and most people had written us off. But we came back to win that on an extra end.

"You keep plugging away. It's like any sport, you hang in there long enough and the tide will change. We put pressure on them up front and it was probably our best game of the tournament."

Johns said she and her team-mates were just coming back down to earth.

"We're just sitting down and enjoying the moment. The club has shouted us a bottle of champagne and it's just starting to kick in on what we have achieved."

Johns said McEldowney's win in the singles inspired the team.

"We thought if we could plug away, we could do the same. Val was here today cheering us on ... It's all pretty overwhelming and the club is rapt with Rodger being a member of the winning four."

Johns and her team are not strangers to winning big events.

Last year, they won the Taranaki Open fours women's title and will defend their title on the greens later in the month.

On the rink beside them yesterday, clubmate Rodger Hassall and his son Brett, who now lives in Auckland, were the front two for a composite four skipped by former New Zealand champion Rowan Brassey and including Brassey's Cabramatta, Sydney, clubmate Beau Prideaux.

Brassey and his team pipped Andrew Kelly and his team from Canterbury 19-18 in the men's final.

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