Ray off to UK!

2017 NZ PBA Rookie of the Year Ray Martin (Wellington) continued his rise on the Professional Bowls Association scene by winning entry into the World Indoor Singles to be played at the Potter’s Leisure Resort in Norfolk, England in January. Playing with Classic II bowls to ensure a good draw on the indoor carpet, Martin was too steady overcoming local favourite Dean Drummond in the semifinal and Dunedin’s Duane White in the final 9-7, 9-1. Martin will line up for the richest prize in bowls with the victor in January earning GBP50,000.

Ray was beaten earlier in the Professional Bowls Association Finals weekend at the Hastings Club in the quarterfinals of the Scottish Singles national playoffs by local favourite Murray Glassey 15-5, 10-4 who went to win that trip.

Richard Corry and Laurie Guy lost their semifinal of the World Indoor Pairs playoffs also to the winners of that event Helen Carman and Mario Sopp from Dunedin 10-7, 3-9, 2-1.

Victoria reigns supreme at National Club Champ Triples

A last gasp final round has seen the Victoria trio of Bradley Down, Tim Toomey and Richard Corry claim the silverware at the National Club Championship Triples. Hosted at the Browns Bay Bowling Club in the North Harbour, play got underway for day two of the triples, with all eyes on the Wellington representatives returning as overnight leaders.

A strong opening win opposite Southland’s Lyall Spencer and Co saw the Down trio all but secure the trophy – though with the Burnside line-up of Mike Small, Richard Hocking and Barry Williams breathing down their necks in second place – a mathematical chance forced the final round to go ahead.

With a superior differential of +36 heading into the last fixture, the Victoria side could afford a loss within 13 points – a theory so nearly tested as Small stormed out to a comfortable win, amassing a 24-11 victory and falling agonisingly short of the title by a solitary point.

Breathing a sigh of relief, Victoria realised they had done enough, with Small, Hocking and Williams finishing runner-up – one game ahead of Palmerston North’s Graeme Cooley and two games ahead of the heroic Kaeo trio, who, despite having only 12 members, had earlier defeated Burnside.

Victoria were unbeaten on day one, getting off to a strong start in the opening round. However, the Victoria trio skipped by Down found themselves in very different territory in the second fixture, trailing 11-0 after six ends opposite Palmerston North’s Graeme Cooley, Dean Gilshnan and Ray Boffa – though a spirited fightback saw them draw level at 15-15 heading into the final end.

Holding their nerve right to the last bowl, a single on the final end was enough to secure an impressive comeback, with their efforts clearly spurring them on to a round three victory against the Hinuera side of Gerard Slattery, Paul Casey Jnr and Paul Casey Snr, 21-8.

This was a first national title for all three although Rich and Brad were also part of the winning Wellington mens intercentre team last month.

The win now gives Victoria an almost unassailable lead in the Wellington mens club of the year standings. Stokes Valley need to win both the NZ Club Fours and the Wellington Champ of Champ Pairs to have a chance.

Para triple take Silver!

There was more than a sense of déjà vu for Barry Wynks (Manawatu) and Victoria’s Mark Noble when they lost the Para triples final, with Bruce Wakefield (Canterbury), to Australia 14-13 at the 21st Commonwealth Games on Australia’s Gold Coast on Thursday afternoon. The gutsy trio were beaten on Ken Hanson’s last bowl in the decider, which was exactly the same fate that Wynks and Noble had to encounter in the B6/B7/B8 class in the 2014 Games. With Lynda Bennett, Wynks and Noble lost the 2014 final of the same event on the last bowl to South Africa.

Opening with two singles, the triple could feel some confidence, but Hanson played with weight and kept coming up with results – a trend that included the final head.

The Australians took over, leading 10-3 before Noble’s side drew a five to make for an interesting closing. A two on the penultimate head gave the Kiwis a one shot lead on the last end and Wakefield drew a beauty to ensure the side held the advantage on the change-over. But Hanson, running, hit Wynks’ bowl, sitting at third shot, which in turn dislodged Wakefield’s bowl. Noble found himself three down, and while he narrowly missed getting the shot, it appeared as if he got second – effectively locking the match up. But Hanson added the bonus with his last delivery to take the honours.

At the mid-point of the semifinal against England, their chances of making another final looked dicey, with the English leading 8-6. But two fours and a three over the next three ends turned the tide back towards the Kiwis winning 18-11.

Well done Rich, Tim & Bradley!

Congratulations to Bradley Down, Tim Toomey and Richard Corry winners of the Regional Club Mens Triples playoffs at the Victoria Club in Wanganui last week. Tim came in as a replacement for Ray Martin who was unavailable due to work commitments. Our side won all three games but were dependent on a last bowl winner from Bradley to beat the home Wanganui side in the first match. They go on to play in the NZ Club Finals at Browns Bay on April 23 and 24.

The club locals told us that the Victoria Club in Wanganui had to apply to our club way back at the start of the 20th Century to use the Victoria name as we predated them by about 10 years. At that stage our reply was that they had to be known as ‘Victoria Wanganui’.