Paritutu's famous four chase another title

GRANT HASSALL
Last updated 05:00 29/01/2013

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It's all set to start rolling again - this time it's the turn of the women as the Taranaki Open fours bowls tournament commences in New Plymouth today.

The TSB Bank-sponsored event has attracted 60 sides, an inevitable drop on the 80 from last season.

There are 11 visiting sides, compared with 20 in 2012, with the majority of the drop attributed to players not returning following the nationals.

But by the time qualifying ends on Thursday, there should still remain a number of top-flight sides.

Like the men's open, games are of 25 ends. Teams require four wins from the six rounds to qualify.

Heading the list of the big guns is the Paritutu side of Heather Johns, Val Keightley, Debbie Smith and Carolyn Harris.

The team took the honours last season and then earlier this month claimed the national title.

But undoubtedly there will be plenty of other teams eager to earn bragging rights by bringing down the Paritutu team.

That includes recent winners like Paritutu's Valda Rowan (2010), Browns Bay's Shona Chambers (2004 and 2009), Inglewood's Anita Swafford (2007) and Lepperton's Ellie Goble (2003 and 2005).

Section one plays its qualifying at Fitzroy, New Plymouth and Inglewood with Johns and Chambers the two most prominent sides. They do not meet, though.

Other teams to watch include Waitara's Joy Clouston and Fitzroy's Janice Ropitini, while Margaret Hickey (nee Andrews), a member of Pam Stevens' 2006 winning quartet, skips a Mt Maunganui side.

Inglewood, Paritutu and Fitzroy are the locations to see section two in action.

The section includes Lepperton's Pauline Davy, Opunake's Bev Robinson, Palmerston North's Ngaire Cowen and Hawera Park's Kristin Stampa.

Section three is playing at New Plymouth, Inglewood and Lepperton and contains Lepperton's Lois Ritson and Vogeltown's Gale Fache, as well as Swafford.

National singles winner Val McEldowney (New Plymouth) spearheads section four, which is the strongest of the sections. Its qualifying will take place at Paritutu, Lepperton and New Plymouth.

The section also comprises Rowan and Goble, national fours semifinalist Shirley Marsters (Vogeltown) and the runners-up from last season, Cindy Nicoll (Inglewood).

Look for Cathy Andrews (Paritutu), Margaret McCallum (Inglewood) and Joy Collins (Opunake) in section five, which plays at Lepperton, Fitzroy and Paritutu.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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