A desire to get among the "grassroots" paid dividends for Bowls New Zealand president Ann Muir yesterday.
Muir and her Kensington club-mates from Northland took out the TSB Bank Taranaki Open fours women's bowls tournament, pipping New Plymouth's Val McEldowney 20-19 in the final at Paritutu.
The lead see-sawed over the final ends and Muir's team were only declared the winner after two measures to decide if McEldowney had in fact got the second shot which she needed to take the final to an extra five ends.
After a couple of agonising minutes a jubilant Muir hugged and high-fived her team-mates Pam Brewster, Janice McLean and Maureen Parker.
"It's fantastic," Muir said. "It's just been a great week."
The last time she had played in the tournament was in 1968 or 1969 when the tournament lasted a fortnight as opposed to six days now.
"I'm going around the country, getting back to grassroots bowls and it's just been great catching up with so many people," she said.
A strong crosswind made life difficult for the finalists who still produced some excellent bowls, particularly the two skips who frequently traded shots.
McEldowney's four, which included lead Margie Carey, as well as Anne Brophy and Yvonne Hardy, held a five-shot lead at the break before Muir dragged it back to 14-12 over the next six ends.
The New Plymouth four could only pick up two shots over the next five ends.
A rare three on the 20th end tied things up before McEldowney took an 18-17 lead after the 22nd end.
McEldowney handed Muir an extra shot when her last bowl on the 23rd end carried one of Muir's closer to the jack. In the end it proved decisive.
On Saturday, Muir trounced Vogeltown's Gale Fache 29-5 in one semifinal, while McEldowney edged out Inglewood's Cindy Nicoll 17-15 in the other match.
Muir had a much closer tussle in her morning quarterfinal clash against Leanne Curry from Frankton Railway, winning 25-23, while McEldowney ended the hopes of Paritutu's Debbie Wilford winning 28-11.
In other quarterfinal matches, Nicoll beat Paritutu's Cathy Andrews 24-18 and Fache beat Girl Reweti and her Hawera Park team 24-15.
- Taranaki Daily News
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