The lessons learnt from the previous season’s campaign paid off handsomely for the Bowls Canterbury men’s team when they competed in the Bowls New Zealand National Intercentre competition in Auckland last month. The seven man team returned to Christchurch with the premier bowls provincial trophy firmly tucked under their arm after they defeated the Nelson Centre side in the final.
Current members of the Bowls New Zealand squads, Andrew Kelly, Gary Lawson and Richard Hocking were in the Canterbury side along with Kelvin Scott, Lance Pascoe, Nathan Glasson and Paul Matheson all who have had many years of bowling experience to call on
The team were never going to be easy beats and proved that by finishing as top qualifier after the section play round. The team went on to defeat Taranaki in their first post section match up and Manawatu in the semi-final.
Nelson, an equally experienced side which included the World Bowls singles champion Shannon McIlroy was the other finalist from the other side of the draw and Canterbury knew it would need a whole team effort to win the national title
Coach Darryl Hawker said he didn’t want to dwell on the results from but the whole team were totally determined to right the wrongs from last year and from day one they fought for each other and were totally supportive of each other.
Hawker said the singles final game between McIlroy and Kelly was a highlight for him; “Obviously playing against a World Champion is always going to be a challenge that Andrew would relish but he struggled initially and was down 8-14 midway through game. However his confidence grew and his determination and he played like a champion, he played some great shots and in doing so restricted McIlroy’s scoring chances to take the lead 22-14. It was a fine spectacle of a very determined and focused player”.
McIlroy did manage to peg back few points, but Kelly held his nerve and took the game 25-24.
“The fours team found form and clicked at the right time. They played really well in all post section games and took two comprehensive wins heading into the final.” Hawker said.
The side skipped by Lance Pascoe went into the final knowing Canterbury needed to win at least two games out of the three to take the title. While they were pushed team solidarity paid off and they took the game 20-19.
For Nathan Glasson being paired with Gary Lawson could have been daunting but he and Gary developed into a formidable partnership early, they pushed all of their opponents in section and picked up two from two in post section play but unfortunately were unable to make it three in a row. However, wins by the singles and fours was all that was need for the Bowls Canterbury men to be declared Bowls New Zealand National Intercentre champions for 2019. The icing on the cake was for Gary Lawson and Kelvin Scott to be presented with their Silver Stars as both have won 10 National titles which is no mean feat