Canterbury have a National Tenpin Bowling champion after a group of 17 bowlers travelled to Lower Hutt for the TBNZ Nationals over Queens Birthday weekend.
Vanessa Powell managed to hold off home-town favourite Amie Abrahams by 39 pins to become “Graded National Champion” on Sunday night.
What made the achievement even better was the fact that these bowlers came into the tournament with no bowling under their belts for seven weeks due to the centre in Christchurch being shut for renovations while the North Island bowlers had the opportunity to lay down the oil pattern and practice on it leading up to the Nationals.
Powell qualified in first place after the 12-game qualifying round which included her highest score of 230, averaging 171, twenty pins above her entering average.
The 12 games consist of Six Singles, Three Doubles and Three Teams games before your overall score gives you a total pinfall. If you make the cut you then progress to the Masters.
Holding a lead of 62 pins over Abrahams after qualifying which Powell then took into the seven game Masters series where the competitors bowled in a three-way format earning 20 extra pins for the win per game, 10 for finishing second and zero for finishing third.
Powell didn’t have it all her own way. After four games of the Masters, Abrahams had cut her deficit to just 14 pins and looked favourite to take out the championship before the Cantabrian bowled scores of 187 and 176 to lead by 47 going into her matchup with Abrahams.
The usually reserved Powell admitted to hearing the support of her team-mates who all stayed to cheer her on throughout the master’s was a huge motivation. “I didn’t think I would perform well with an audience cheering me on as loud as they did but it actually drove me to do well” she said. “To be honest I was in shock that I had won. I wasn’t sure if I had done enough in my last game to hold on” she added after bowling 151 against Abrahams.
Simon Wood qualified 4th out of 53 bowlers in the Men’s Open Division with a qualifying average of 203.2 including eight 200 games.
The Men’s Open grade, which carries an average of 180 plus, saw 11 Christchurch bowlers enter, competing against a host of current and former New Zealand Rep Bowlers which included Canterbury’s own Dan Ellis who represented the Fern in Hong Kong last December.
Wood then had to compete in a gruelling 15 game head-to-head finals competition, lasting four and a half hours eventually finishing in a respectable 9th Place, bowling another five 200 plus games, ending his 27-game weekend with an impressive 191.9 average only a 16 pin average down on winner Sonny Reguerra from Auckland.
“I believe this was an awesome effort considering I was bowling against a lot of the New Zealand team who have all the latest gear” which included a Urethane ball which Wood was missing from his arsenal.
Wood spoke highly of his supporters “They made my life a lot easier moving my gear for me and telling me where to go next. I also did ask for advice because at times the lanes were so hard that I felt lost.” Wood said.
Wood began bowling in 2001 before taking eight years off due to work and family commitments and returned to the lanes five years ago.
The next tournament for several of these bowlers will be the Canterbury Open over Anniversary weekend in November, although there are a few tournaments in the North Island before that which some will compete it.
OPEN MEN CANTERBURY BOWLERS PLACING AND AVERAGES:
Simon Wood 4th (203.2), Dan Ellis 24th (174.7), Leon Milnes 26th (173.3), Gary McCaw 28th (172.7), Tony Payne 29th (172.6), Graham Dyer 31st (171.3), Andre Davis 36th (166.8), Joel Crack 38th (166.2), Stu Driver 40th (162.8), Glenn Matthews 45th (158.9), Jon Matthews 50th (148.2)
GRADED CANTERBURY BOWLERS (Placing based on Handicap score, averages shown are scratch scores)
Vanessa Powell 1st (171.1), Chris Puaaelo 15th (156.2), Xavier TeWano 16th (135.1), Tracy Hapi 19th (129.4), Jax McCaw 20th (138.3), Elijah Hosking 21st (128.1)
Words & Images: Glenn Matthews