1-5 Year Fours – talk about matchups!
9 September 2022
From qualifying to semi-finals

With a field of 22 teams, I was looking forward to the competition being all over in one weekend.  Alas, the statistical gods had other ideas.  At Epsom, after two rounds, two of the ten teams had qualified; however, all teams needed to play out their last game.  As fate would have it, those that needed the win dug deep and five more teams qualified.  A contrast with the 12 teams at Blockhouse Bay – with four qualifying after two rounds and another two qualifying in the final round.

Game 4, in the Round of 16, saw a matchup between two Howick teams. David Weir’s team scored a four on the first end but Bob Donelly’s team was not overawed.  Some wonderful bowling by Chris Hand, a first-year bowler playing at #3, kept their team in the hunt.  After 12 ends,  it was 11-all.  On the 13th end, Bruce Fenton’s opening toucher could not be moved.  The 14th end started and the bell sounded.  On the turn, it was a close measure, with both Skips claiming the shot.  David drew slightly over the head and fortuitously moved the jack in his favour.  Bob could not get his bowls to stop, a slightly flattering score of 14-11 for David Weir’s team to take the win.

Another key match-up in the Round of 16 was game 7.  Royal Oak, skipped by Steve Fisher, up against Pt Chevalier, Skipped by Shaun Goldsbury.  This was a tight affair, with both leads and seconds consistently drawing resting touchers, which enticed the 3rds and skips to run and kill the end.  When the bell rang, the teams were left playing the 12th end.  The score finished 11-6 in favour of Pt Chevalier.

Quarter Final 1 saw Bridge Park versus Epsom in a repeat of their round 1 qualifying match, which was won by Epsom 15-10.  Bridge Park started stronger in this rematch, maintaining a four-shot lead, and was 10-6 after 11 ends.  Epsom piled on some pressure, after 14 ends it was 10-10.  During the 15th and final end, the bell sounded.  With his final bowl, Bridge Park’s #3 killed the jack.  All eyes turned to the Umpire for confirmation of the new CoP – ‘if there is a kill after the bell, the jack is spotted on the two-metre mark’.  The re-spotting left Epsom holding two shots.  Bridge Park’s Skip’s final bowl got tangled in short front bowls, resulting in Epsom taking the honours.

Quarter Final 2 saw Pakuranga against Howick.  This was also a repeat of the round 1 qualifying match which was won by Pakuranga 13-12.  On this occasion, Howick was not to be denied, they started off strongly and kept up the pressure.  After 12 ends Howick led 17-5.  Pakuranga scored eight shots in the next two ends but ran out of time.

Quarter Final 3 had an unfortunate outcome, with Auckland Bowling Club’s Skip suffering a medical event.  A replacement player could not be obtained in time, so the team had to concede the game.

Quarter Final 4 saw Pt Chev against an Ellerslie & Royal Oak composite side.  No quarter was given in this match and no more than two shots separated the teams at any point.  After 14 ends, the score was 9- all.  Both teams kept their composure – the head was tight.  After all, bowls were played, and out came the tape measure; one shot and the win to Pt Chevalier.

In Semi-Final 1, Warwick Catchpole’s Epsom team was up against David Weir’s Howick team.  The Howick combination leaped to a 10-0 lead after five ends and maintained the pressure to lead 16-5 after 12 ends.  Either the wheels fell off, or the foot came off the pedal, but Epsom picked up a four and a five to close the gap, but time had run out.  Howick had the win 16-14.

Semi-Final 2 saw Jim Hunter’s Blockhouse Bay team up against Shaun Goldsbury’s Pt Chevalier team.  This would turn out to be the match of the day.  After six ends, it was a score of the devil – 6:6:6.  After 12 ends it was 10-10.  On the 13th end, Blockhouse Bay picked up a three.  With time up, the 14th end would be the last.  The leads traded shot for shot with all four bowls within half a mat of the jack.  The Seconds also played tight bowls which gave the Skips a headache as to how the thirds should play.  BHB chose to cover, whereas Pt Chev’s Skye Rene’s second shot was beautifully weighted into the head, which had the desired effect of opening it up.  

On the turn, Pt Chev had two shots, but the jack was slightly hidden with a front bowl and a shorter bowl out to the right.  BHB skip, Jim Hunter went to cover the back but came up short.  Shaun went for the drive, somehow the miracle happened, his bowl went through three impossible gaps – a million-to-one let-off for BHB.  With his final bowl, Jim was up and behind the head about one metre from the ditch.  Shaun knew he could not miss twice – or could he?  The bowl went straight and true and collected the jack.  Alas, it was fractionally off centre, the bowl finished in the ditch, but the jack had ricocheted out of bounds and was placed on the 2-metre mark.  Pt Chev had two and measured for the third.  As intended, the cover worked, and the final BHB bowl was closer by 2cm, so the score settled at 13-12 to BHB.  What a match. 

I look forward to the final scheduled for the weekend of 8 & 9 October at Remuera.

Contributed by Gerard Hulst