Thrilling head-to-head Champ of Champs Singles
3 May 2024

Last weekend marked the kickoff of Bowls Auckland’s highly anticipated Champion of Champion series, setting the stage for an exciting Singles event. Drawing in the crème de la crème from Auckland’s clubs, the competition was a vibrant mix of familiar seasoned bowlers and fresh faces eager to make their mark on their first-ever COC event.

Women’s event

This year’s Women’s competition saw well-known players such as Ashleigh Jeffcoat, Lesley McLinden, Jo McKenna, Rima Strickland, Beverley Callingham and Lisa Prideaux. These players were joined by a mix of new and emerging talents such as Donna Davison (St Heliers), Penny Yam (Blockhouse Bay), Josefina Mitchell (Henderson), Eva Bell (Mt Albert), and Linda Fenton (Howick).

Last year’s winner Jhanna Savov, having won the title in her first year proved that anybody could step up and take the gold. The quality of play this year could not be overstated with a strong crowd for both days the quality of draw bowls and high-pressure moments carried across the rinks.

After two tense semifinals, it was Howick’s Linda Fenton to take on Auckland BC’s Lisa Prideaux. The match started level pegging with players going end for end in the opening stages, however, it was the two multiples early in the match from Lisa Prideaux which kept her in front for the match and led to her victory. It also marked the first Women’s Open title for Auckland Bowling Club.


Men’s event

In the Men’s event, we saw equally high-quality matchups with New Lynn’s Adam Wishnoski taking on Mt Albert’s Zoran Bartulovich, before moving on to take on teammate Sean Hird, representing Pringle Park in this event. Mike Galloway (Royal Oak) faced off against Adam Blucher (Te Atatu) in the round of 16 in what has become yet another match between the two players creating a great rivalry with a distinct contrast in styles. Again both semifinals occurred similarly, both finishing with a 21-10 scoreline. Sean Hird defeated Loni Polima (Carlton Cornwall), and Mike Galloway defeated Liam Hill (Auckland BC).

In the final, both players exchanged numbers early the score climbing quickly. From 10 all, Sean jumped ahead scoring a 3 and backed it up with a further single. Galloway pounced scoring two on the next end and backed it up with a tight four. A couple of further singles and a final 3 saw Galloway secure the win and with it his 20th Bowls Auckland title. 


Reflecting on the thrills

As we reflect on the weekend it highlights the thrill of the Champion of Champion events, whether it is your first title or another one in a long career, the thrill is the same.  Both Lisa and Mike have now qualified for the national finals to be played in Dunedin in July.