Crofskey's sizzling form rewarded with Taranaki selection
The inclusion of Inglewood's Lorraine Crofskey is the most notable feature of the Taranaki representative sides that have been selected to contest the intercentre event in Auckland late next month.
Crofskey was not included in the fixture with Manawatu in November but she then produced an excellent month of bowls to bring herself back into the frame.
However, the intercentre will be a completely different level of competition, which will certainly challenge Crofskey and Taranaki.
Aside from New Plymouth's Val McEldowney and Vogeltown's Gale Fache - the latter was a quarterfinalist in the pairs - the other team members were largely anonymous during the national tournament.
That should serve as a warning for the players.
Fache skips the four, which includes Crofskey, New Plymouth's Yvonne Hardy and Stratford-Avon's Girl Reweti.
Inevitably, McEldowney plays the singles, while New Plymouth's Margy Carey and Hawera Park's Kristin Stampa are the pair.
The men's side has a predictable look to it, with all the members of the winning Taranaki Open fours side from Alton in the seven-man team.
John Roberts will again lead for West End's Craig Johns in the pairs, while West End's John Garrud takes Roberts' place in the four, in front of Mark Anderson, Bruce Phillips and Grant Anderson.
Predictably, Darren Goodin will play the singles.
Of the 27 centres in New Zealand, 24 will contest the rejigged competition, which is on February 21-24. The top two provinces from each pool advance to the quarterfinals.
The men meet South Otago, South Canterbury, Wellington, Auckland and the Far North, while the women will tangle with Waikato, Canterbury, North Harbour, Manawatu and South Canterbury.
As a dress rehearsal to the intercentre, Taranaki will meet Hawke's Bay and Manawatu on February 16-17. The women's side includes all of the top seven, but the men's side has not been finalised as a number of players are unavailable.
TARANAKI (Women's team for intercentre and Amber team for Hawke's Bay): singles, Val McEldowney; pairs, Margy Carey, Kristin Stampa; fours, Lorraine Crofskey, Yvonne Hardy, Girl Reweti, Gale Fache. Black team for Hawke's Bay: singles, Kileigh Barber; pairs, Ella Smailes, Maureen Tamou; fours, Leanne Halls, Nellie Hewson, Lilac Pouwhare, Pauline Davy.
TARANAKI (Men's team for intercentre): singles, Darren Goodin, pairs, John Roberts, Craig Johns; fours, John Garrud, Mark Anderson, Bruce Phillips, Grant Anderson.
5.0 Sunday's win in the TSB Bank Open fours, following their victory in the centre fours in November, has clearly established the Alton side as the most complete fours lineup in the province.
While as individuals their form has occasionally dipped - the two Andersons and John Roberts, with Jamie Hill, failed to qualify in the national fours - the four players as a unit generate a very strong combination.
Roberts and Mark Anderson are reliable draw players while Bruce Phillips and Grant Anderson play all the shots.
Unlike the majority of top-end players in the province, they drive with accuracy, know how to build a head and get the best out of the team.
- © Fairfax NZ News
Have you lost faith in Taranaki rugby?Related story: Taranaki lose to Waikato
Get Taranaki's frequent news and sport updates