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Results 2008/2009 Season

Birkenhead Bowling Club 1st Year Singles

For virtually every bowler who plays the game, there is one competition that they will only ever get ONE chance to win. This is the 1st year singles. At Birkenhead many bowlers who have won the first year singles have gone on to very successful careers, although there are many others who have not won who have also done exceptionally well (ask Mr Burgess how old the kid was that beat him in his 1st yr competition). After several kerfuffle's with regard to entries, and then a postponement due to inclement weather, they finally got underway. Some high quality bowls were played amongst the 14 entrants which is an outstanding turnout for this competition. However, only the top 8 could go through to post section. Unfortunately one of the qualifiers was unable to play on Sat 21st March, which left top qualifier Garry Banks with a bye straight into the semi-finals. Here he met Arthur Dewar who had comfortably accounted for John Croy in his quarter-final. A high quality game ensued, and at 19-11 Garry was sitting pretty. But with some precise draw bowls Arthur clawed his way back into the game and at 19-18 it was anyone's game. Garry held his nerve though to book his spot in the final 21-18. In the other semi-final, John Stewart played Malcolm Hall with both players having reasonably comfortable victories in their quarter-finals. Another tight match saw John scrape through 21-15.

The final began in beautiful conditions and it began with John scoring more consistently but then dropping big numbers. Garry's first three scoring ends were all threes, but after 10 or so ends he was only in front 9-8. The match continued neck and neck until the scores were about 14-14. Here Garry's consistency began to pay off, and another two big ends (a four and then a three) saw him wrap up the match and the title. For Garry it was fine reward for putting in the time and effort over the season, and entering and playing in everything he could. John battled hard all match and credit must go to him for a very good effort. The standard of play was exceptionally high, and the club is in good hands with players like this coming through. Congratulations to all of those who entered, and particularly Garry Banks, Birkenhead Bowling Clubs 1st yr Singles champion for the 2008/2009 season.

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Regional Playoffs - Triples

Several weeks ago the triples combination from Birkenhead of Terry Moverley, Keith Burgess and Dennis Matthews had the opportunity to playoff for a spot in the New Zealand Community Trust National Triples Final. Playing in Whangarei against the winners of the Centre triples from the Far North, Northland, and Auckland respectively, they faced a daunting challenge. However, they proved that their win in the North Harbour centre triples was no fluke by winning two of their games to win the competition on a countback. After losing to the Northland combination in their first game, things did not look good. However a comfortable victory over a very strong Far North side and Northlands subsequent loss to Auckland saw all four sides enter the last round on level points. The boys faced the Mt Eden side from Auckland skipped by a certain Rowan Brassey in this final round, and another comfortable victory saw them progress to Rotorua on differential. In Rotorua they will play against the other 5 regional winners from around the country for a national title. All of Birkenhead wishes Terry, Keith and Dennis all the best for this competition which happens in late April. Extremely well done fellas and keep it going.

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Regional Playoffs - Intrecentre

North Harbour named its Open Men's, Open Men's Reserve and Development Men's teams several weeks ago for their qualifying matches against Auckland, Far North, and Northland. An illustration of the depth in Birkenhead Bowls at present saw each team of 6 include several Birkenhead players.

Men's Open - Tony Grantham and Ross Haresnape (Pairs)

Men's Open Reserve - Dave Stephens and Rod Mahon (Pairs)

Men's Development - Marty Short (Triples), Nigel Drew (Pairs), Shane Gibson (Singles)

All seven players acquitted themselves well, in particularly Tony, Ross, Dave, Rod, and Shane who each won all three of their games in this very strong competition against quality opposition. Well done fellas. Dave and Rod helped the Open Reserve team to victory in the competition, although for the others it was so close but so far, with both the Men's Open and Men's Development missing out on differential.

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Regional 5yr and under Tournament

The North Harbour 5yr and under side went into the second day of their intrecentre competition at Waipu with a commanding lead over Auckland, Northland and the Far North. The 12 man squad included Birkenhead players Nigel Drew, Marty Short, Brian Wilson, Dave Good, Bruce Cochrane and John Hindmarsh. After two of the scheduled rounds on the second day, North Harbour had blown their lead after winning just 2 games out of their first 8, with 1 draw. However the last round saw them pull their socks up to clinch the competition for the first time in 2 years. Well done boys.

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Bowls North Harbour Championship Fours

Saturday the 31st and Sunday 1st February saw Bowls North Harbour hold their final Centre Championship event of the season, this being the Fours. A relatively small field saw their being just eight teams left to complete the event on Sunday, amongst which there were two Birkenhead teams. These were the Dennis Matthews skipped side of Bruce Cochrane, Keith Burgess, and Shane Gibson and the Rod Mahon led side of Mark Rumble, Gary Stevens and Shane Stewart. Unlike 'lucky' Rod, who had the bye in the 4th game on Saturday afternoon (as he somehow always manages to get) Dennis's side won their section and then had to play their first post-section game late on Saturday evening. Beating another Birkenhead side in section play, the Lionel Drew skipped combination that included Marty Short, Mark Emirali and Nigel Drew, Dennis's side played the old enemy Northcote in post section play. This team was skipped by Dave Probert, with George Houghton, wily veteran Max Dick, and John Pilkington completing the side. The Birkenhead team were looking good at 13-5 but after dropping a couple of big scores the last end was played with the scores locked at 13-13. Bruce, who had been outstanding all day for Dennis, dropped his second bowl right on the cake, only to see John Pilkington play a lovely wresting bowl to sit his shot bowl out and leave Northcote holding the win. Shane then drew his only shot of the entire day with a resting toucher to place the win back in Birkenhead's control. Dave Probert had two attempts at removing the shot bowl but was unable to do so and Dennis' side advance to the last eight.

Also playing their post section match on the same green were the Birkenhead side skipped by Ross Haresnape, who had Scott Curran, Don Trott and Tony Grantham playing in front of him. After looking quite comfortable at 10-3 up over the Takapuna side skipped by Chris Taylor, Ross eventually lost on an extra end in a bit of an upset. Taylor's side included Brian Wilson, who has dual membership at Takapuna and Birkenhead. The author thinks Brian (affectionately known as 'carpark') is a might confused as to where he should be playing his bowls, but lets all help make up his mind to continue at Birkenhead shall we. No pressure Brian. No pressure.

Post-Section began on Sunday in drizzly conditions at Browns Bay, with Dennis' side playing poorly throughout and losing to Chris Taylor of Takapuna 20-12. Rod Mahon's side comfortably accounted for Silverdale's Ross Warren 17-5 to set up a semi final meeting with the Con Kater skipped Mairangi side. They eventually overcame Rod and the boys 12-9 in an intense affair. The final was won by Chris Taylor, thus giving Brian Wilson his first Open Centre Title in just his third year. A fantastic achievement and even more reason we all need to work on 'carpark' to stay at Birkenhead.

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Bowls North Harbour Championship Singles

Over the weekend of the 13th and 14th of December Bowls North Harbour ran their Championship Singles event. A large contingent of players from Birkenhead took part. Five Birkenhead players qualified from the first day for the last 16 playoffs on Sunday held at Birkenhead. These were Lionel Drew, Colin Bouzaid, Merv Garred, Ross Haresnape and Rod Mahon. Also qualifying was former Birkenhead player Colin Rogan, who overcame Birkenhead player Shane Gibson in qualifying 21-18, after leading comfortably at one point 16-5.

Merv Garred went down in his first post-section match to Colin 21-18 in a terrific battle. Colin Bouzaid played well but was beaten by Tony Marinkovich, twice former winner of this event, 21-20 in another titanic tussle. Lionel Drew also lost 21-17 to Takapuna's Murray Mathieson. Both Rod and Ross progressed to the quarter-finals with comfortable victories over Bruno Barnetta of Wellsford and Steven Packer of Belmont Park respectively. Rod then played Orewa man Ross Higginson and things did not look good when he was trailing 20 – 13. However in one of the most unlikely finishes you would ever see on a bowling green, Rod picked up successive fours to win 21-20. Ross also progressed through to the semi-finals with a 21-13 victory over Tony Marinkovich. In the semi-finals, Rod again showed what a good singles exponent he is with a 21-14 victory over North Harbour development player Mike Cartwright of Browns Bay. Ross however was not so lucky, losing to Colin Rogan 21-11. This meant that Rogan had beaten three Birkenhead players on his way to the final, where he would meet another one in Rod Mahon.

Unfortunately for Rod, Rogan's dominance over the Birkenhead boys continued in the final with a reasonably comfortable 21-9 victory. This was Rod's third appearance in the final of a North Harbour Singles event, and unfortunately his third runner-up. However the author feels sure it will happen one day.

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Bowls North Harbour 5yr and Under Singles

The 5yr and under singles were played over the same weekend, and it turned into a total benefit for Birkenhead. Five players made the quarter-finals of this event – John Hindmarch, Brian Wilson, Dave Good, Marty Short and Bruce Cochrane. Bruce and Dave played each other with Dave proving to consistent winning 21-13. Marty, Brian, and John all had comfortable victories to set up two all Birkenhead semi-finals. Brian Wilson overcame Marty Short 21-19 in a tight battle whilst Dave was too strong for Jonny, winning 21-10. This then set up a final for Brian and Dave, who a month before had combined to win the Bowls North Harbour 5yr and under Pairs competition. The final was well-supported and won by Dave 21-13, who as a second year player has now walked off with both of North Harbour's 5yr and under competitions. A great effort.

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Hyundai National Open Championships

The 94th Men's National Open Championships began on Friday 2nd January, with a number of Birkenhead players involved in all disciplines of singles, pairs and fours. The weather was mainly very good over the two weeks of competition, although the 2nd day of qualifying in the fours was interrupted by rain and saw most sections shifted to artificial surfaces. Unfortunately for many players, some of the greens that were used throughout Auckland were not of the best quality. It just shows how spoilt we are at Birkenhead to have such magnificent greens to play on week in and week out. From a club point of view, some of the results were outstanding; however the club atmosphere around the greens and back at the club each even was simply fantastic. There is nothing better than having played a hard day of bowls, successfully or not, and then arrive back at Birkenhead to see 10 to 20 other members all wearing blue shirts, all wanting to know how you did. Of course it is at this point that all real conversation goes out the door as bowlers relive the hard luck stories, the great shots they played, and of course the near misses. Club spirit is alive and well, and may long it continue. Enough of that then, and onto the results.

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Sunday the 4th January saw the qualifying rounds played in the Men's Singles. Nineteen Birkenhead players set off to all parts of Auckland to attempt to qualify for post section play. Of the nineteen, seven arrived back at the club after a long and very hot day of bowls with the news that they had qualified. Needing to win 3 out of your 4 games, this was a very good effort. Qualifiers were Tony Grantham, Rod Mahon, Chris Jackson, Dave Good, Colin Bouzaid, Shane Gibson and Ross Haresnape. It is interesting to note that three of these players made the semi-finals of the Birkenhead Championship singles, whilst three others lost in the quarter-finals of that event. Rod Mahon's efforts included a victory in his final game against eventual Pairs winner Rob Ashton from Johnsonville. Rod had already qualified, but showed no mercy to the Wellingtonian, knocking him out of the Singles championships. Another stand-out performance from second year player Dave Good, whose great singles form this season seems to be continuing. Unfortunately for Dave, his first post-section game saw him come up against in-form and eventual runner-up Chris Lourie from Frankton Railway. This was a bridge to far for Dave, with Lourie being far too strong and ensuring a comfortable win. At the same venue as Dave was Chris Jackson who won his first post-section match over Ken Batkin from St Heliers 21-17. This led to a last 64 meeting with highly regarded youngster Blake Signal from the Eastbourne club in Wellington. Despite Chris's best efforts, Signal proved too strong and went through to the last 32 with a 21-12 victory.

The National Championships have been a happy hunting ground in the past for Tony Grantham, winning the Singles Championships back in 2007 at Dunedin. He began his post-section play with a 21-16 victory over Jack Huriwai from near neighbours Glenfield. He then overcame John Carruthers from the Carlton-Cornwall club 21-12 to set up a meeting with Doug Thomas from the North East Valley club in Dunedin in the round of 32. A close match ensued, with Tony eventually getting up to book a place in the last 16 with a 21-18 victory. Shane Gibson drew another former Singles champion in the form of Justin Goodwin, who won the title back in 1999. Goodwin proved too strong to comfortably brush aside Shane 21-14. Rod Mahon and Ross Haresnape were both drawn at Balmoral. Rod began with a nail-biting 21-20 victory over Bay of Plenty development representative Cliff Oliff, whilst Ross took care of Helensville's Ron Cowper 21-9. Rod then survived another tight affair against Mangere bowler Keshwa Gounder, whilst Ross had a very tight game against the skip of last year's fours championship winning side, Bruce McNish from the Musgrave Hill club in Australia. This set up a meeting between club mates Rod and Ross for a spot in the last 16, with Ross proving too strong in a convincing 21-9 victory.

Finally, and the hard luck story of the seven Birkenhead players was Colin Bouzaid. Comfortably ahead in his first match against Colin Reynolds of Shirley 18-7, Ollie, running up the green after one of his bowls felt his knee give in and went tumbling to the ground. After a 10 minute spell on the sideline, and with some medical attention, he continued to finally win 21-18. However, his next match against well-performed Auckland bowler Chris Lowe was too much with the damaged knee, with Lowe winning 21-7. This was an unlucky break for Ollie, as I have heard through the grapevine that he was playing exceptional bowls. Therefore Birkenhead had two representatives in the last 16 of the singles which took place at the Pakuranga Bowling Club on Thursday the 8th January. Tony was drawn against fellow New Zealand squad member Richard Girvan, and in a tightly fought tussle finally prevailed 21-19. Ross was far too strong for Tauranga South's John Simons, winning 21-11. This setup quarterfinal clashes for the Birkenhead pair, with Tony playing Chris Lourie (who had beaten Dave Good earlier in post-section) and Ross playing former Birkenhead member, fellow North Harbour representative and current North Harbour singles champion Colin Rogan. Tony's match against Lourie was a tight affair, but Lourie proved to consistent in the end, beating Tony 21-16 and eventually going on to make the final. Ross's match against Rogan ended in controversial circumstances. With the score at 13-1 to Rogan, Ross conceded the match. At the time this was considered inappropriate although Bowls New Zealand later accepted Ross's explanation that he was suffering from extreme fatigue due to a diabetes condition. Birkenhead's growing reputation as a club of some repute will have been further enhanced by the results in this Singles Championships. Special congratulations to Tony Grantham and Ross Haresnape for making the quarter-finals.

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The pair's championship saw eleven combinations of Birkenhead players participating, as well as three other Birkenhead players competing in combined teams i.e. with players from other clubs. Run over two days, each pair had to win four of their six games to qualify for post-section. Eight of the fourteen combinations including Birkenhead players managed to qualify for post-section play. They were:

  • Rod Mahon and Roy Parker
  • Tony Grantham and Shannon McIlroy (Stoke)
  • Shane Gibson and Bruce Cochrane
  • Lionel Drew and Mark Emiralli
  • Nigel Drew and Martin Short
  • Ross Haresnape and Neville Hill (Avondale)
  • Dennis Matthews and Keith Burgess
  • Steve Doolan and Merv Garred

An exceptional escape act from Lionel & Mark and Nigel & Marty saw both combinations lose two of their three games on the first day, yet coming back to win three out of three on the second to scrape into post section.

Rod and Roy played Laurie Guy and Barry O'Brien from Wellington and despite having the better of much of the game, succumbed 16-14 after dropping a five on the 2nd to last end. Tony and Shannon won their first game in a close encounter 15-14, but then were outplayed by former National Pairs champions Peter Sain and Wally Marsic 15-6. Shane and Bruce won their first match over an Onehunga combination 19-14, this after being behind 13 – 2 in the early stages of the match. This was a measure of revenge for the Birkenhead boys after they had been knocked out of the New Zealand open by the same combination a month or so ago. Lionel and Mark had perhaps the most difficult first round match after they were drawn to play Ryan Bester and Rowan Brassey. Despite competing for much of the match they eventually out-gunned 19-10.

Nigel and Marty had a close encounter in their first match, beating a Katikati combination 15-14. This saw them into a last 64 match against wily veteran Ivan Marsic and Auckland representative Neil Fisher. Another tight tussle ensued, with eventually an extra end needing to be played to separate the two sides. Nigel and Marty did enough to win the match and advance to the last 32 where they played Colin O'Brien of Onehunga and Barry Columbus from Rawhiti. This was another nail-biter again needing an extra end, where once again the Birkenhead pair prevailed, with a final score of 18-17. This saw the two under 5yr players advance to the last 16 of the national pairs where they played NZ representative Richard Girvan and Ali Forsyth. Nigel and Marty played some superb bowls, and with the scores locked at 13-13 after 14 of the 18 ends it was anyone's game. Over the last 4 ends however the greater experience of the two more fancied players showed through, with a final winning margin of 20-13. This was a fantastic effort from Nigel and Marty, who both played some fantastic bowls over the four days they were involved in the pair's competition. Congratulations to both you guys.

Ross, playing with long time friend Neville Hill, had a win by default in their match after the opposition failed to turn up at the venue of Remuera. Also at Remuera were Dennis and Keith, and after winning their first match against Auckland development player Fili Laumea and his partner Bruce Settle another Birkenhead battle ensued in the round of 64 with them drawn to play Ross and Neville. A tight game played in good spirit saw Ross and Neville finally prevail 19-15. This then saw Ross and Neville play Tony Grantham's conqueror Peter Sain and Wally Marsic. An inspired performance from Ross saw them advance to the last 16 with a 20-15 victory. Into the last 16 then and Ross and Neville played the strong Waikato combination of Kevin Robinson and Steve Posa, pair's champions last time the championships were held in Auckland in 2005. Neville's draw bowls off the front proved too strong for Posa, with him and Ross advancing to the quarter-finals 19-16. Here they played the Okahu Bay combination of Ian Neary and Danny O'Connor. Danny, a former North Harbour representative himself was hunting for his 10th National title, and kept this dream on track with a 23-17 victory over Ross and Neville. Unfortunately for Danny this was as far as he went, losing to eventual runner-up Matt Gallop and Chris Le Lievre.

Finally, Steve and Merv also won their first post-section game, beating up and coming Auckland player Greg Ruaporo and his partner, NZ squad member Mark Watt from North East Valley 20-12. This was as far as they went though, losing in the last 64 to Richard Girvan and Ali Forsyth 18-11 after leading 7-2 at one stage.

This was an extremely successful competition for Birkenhead players, especially for the two juniors Nigel and Marty by making the last 16 of the National Pairs. Also of course to Ross Haresnape, who has shown again what a great bowler he is by making the quart-finals of both the singles and pairs of this championship.

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Following the completion of the Singles and Pairs, the Fours competition got underway on Saturday the 10th January. Eight combinations involving Birkenhead players were competing, with five club sides and 3 composite teams playing. Qualifying was the same as the pairs, with each side needing to win four of their six matches to qualify. After the first day of qualifying, four of the seven sides were sitting pretty with three wins out of three. These were the sides skipped by Rod Mahon, Dennis Matthews, Don Trott, and Shaun Bayne. Three of these combinations continued their good form the following day with Rod, Don and Shaun all comfortably qualifying for post-section play. Unfortunately for the Dennis Matthews skipped side that included Shane Gibson, Keith Burgess, and Bruce Cochrane, the second day of qualifying was a complete disaster, losing all three games. This after beating Pairs champions Rob Ashton and Ray Boffa on the first day.

The eventual qualifiers for post section play were:

  • Don Trott, Bart and Peter Robertson (Helensville), and Scott Curran
  • Rod Mahon, Roy Parker, Sandy Cleghorn, and Shane Stewart
  • Shaun Bayne, Ray Urwin, Mark Rumble and Brian Wilson
  • Tony Marinkovich, John Walker, Colin Rogan (all Browns Bay), and Ross Haresnape
  • Shannon McIlroy (Stoke), Tony Grantham, Steve Beel and Lance Tasker (both Mt Maunganui)

Unfortunately all four sides succumbed in the first round of post section. Shaun Bayne lost to a Tauranga South combination, Shannon McIlroy to a Handerson side, Tony Marinkovich was upended by the Mairangi Bay side skipped by Con Kater, Rod Mahon lost to the strong Krajancic family side from Carlton-Cornwall and Trotty was beaten by Eddie Higginson of St Heliers.

Despite this, the 94th National Open Championships showed just how competitive the Birkenhead Bowling Club had become, with some outstanding results being shown. As President Rod has stated, when he first joined the club 14 odd years ago nobody played in the Nationals. It shows how far the club has come in these past years when you consider that 30 players representing Birkenhead participated in this years Nationals. This was the 2nd highest number of any club in the country behind the Howick bowling club. Congratulations to all bowlers who participated. Well done.

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Dick Bree Memorial Championship Triples

The weekend of the 28th and 29th of November saw Bowls North Harbour hold its annual Dick Bree Memorial Championship Triples competition. This was the third centre event of the season, and once again Birkenhead came through to pick up the Centre title. However on this occasion it was not one of the more fancied combinations. A superb team effort from Dennis Matthews, Keith Burgess and Terry Moverley saw them overcome a resilient Glenfield side in the final late on Sunday afternoon 22 - 14. For Dennis and Terry it was their first ever Centre Title, with Keith grabbing his third.

Three of the final eight teams left on Sunday were from Birkenhead, with Don Trott, Scott Curran and Mark Rumble and Lionel Drew, Nigel Drew and Marty Short both succumbing in the quarter finals. In Terry's own words 'No one would have given us much chance before the tournament started' but after a good day at Orewa in section play, the combination dominated a Warkworth side skipped by John Morgan in their first post section game. On Sunday they began against Eric Simmonds from Browns Bay, and despite trailing 10-1 they plugged away to win on the final end 12-11. The semi-final was played against another Browns Bay combination skipped by Dave McMurchy. The final was played against the Glenfield combination of Doug Cambell, Jack Huriwai and Peter Nathan. The Birkenhead boys picked up a five early on, only to drop a five a few ends later. Despite this they were more consistent overall and a third centre title for Birkenhead was locked away in the cupboard. A special congratulation to Dennis and Terry for their first Centre Title, and to Keith, who now reckons that he will have his gold star at age 82 working on the current time frame between Centre Titles.

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Bowls North Harbour Premier Interclub

This season the format for Bowls North Harbour's Interclub was changed slightly. Before Christmas the 'Premier' Divisions of Interclub were held, with another Interclub involving division's A-E being held after Christmas. Birkenhead entered 1 team in the 10 team Premier One division, with two teams being entered in the Premier Two division. Premier Two was separated into two sections of 8 teams each, with section winners and runners-up playing off for the final placings.

Birkenhead's Premier One team was named as
Singles: Rod Mahon
Pairs:Lionel Drew, Ross Haresnape
Fours:Don Trott, Dennis Matthews, Roy Parker, and Shane Gibson

It was thought that this team would be very competitive throughout the 9 game round-robin competition, but unfortunately this was not to be the case. A disastrous first round 3-0 loss to fellow favourites Browns Bay was not ever really overcome, and although struggling gamely for much of the competition and a much improved final day, they could do no better than 3rd spot. This was a massive 16 points behind run-away winners Browns Bay, who won the competition for the second year running.

Birkenhead's cause was no doubt disrupted by the withdrawal of Shane Gibson on the morning of the first day of competition due to illness. This meant that all three Birkenhead teams were changed at the last minute amid some frantic phone-calling from selector Lionel Drew, who deserves some credit for having to reorganise the teams at such last-minute notice.

The two Premier Two teams originally selected were:

  Birkenhead Maroon Birkenhead Black
Singles: Colin Bouzaid Sandy Cleghorn
Pairs: Bruce Cochrane John Hindmarch
  Martin Short Paul Freeth
Fours: Dave Good Shane Stewart
  Steve Doolan Ray Urwin
  Keith Burgess Mark Emirali
  Merv Garred Shaun Bayne

However, due to the rearranging on the first morning, both these sides looked decidedly different come match time, with Martin Short moving up to play in the Premier One side, John Hindmarch moving into the Maroon side, and Ra Te Amo coming into the Black side, with several changes in team make-ups as well. After the first 5 rounds of round-robin play, the Maroon side were in 3rd in their section, with a chance of moving into the top two positions and qualifying for the play-offs on the final day, whilst the Black side were further down the table in their section.

A further rearrangement for the second weekend saw a now fit Shane Gibson moving into the Maroon side in the fours, with Dave Good being promoted to the Premier One side due to the unavailability of Martin Short. On the final day of round robin play the Maroon team won 5 of their 6 games to move into 1st spot in their section and qualify for the playoffs the following day, whilst the Black team also did well to miss out on a spot in the playoffs by just 2 points.

The final day of playoffs saw the rearranged Birkenhead team play against Glenfield and two Browns Bay teams for the Premier Two Division title and the chance to represent North Harbour in the regional playoffs. Again a full round robin was scheduled to be played, however after the first two rounds Birkenhead had built such a commanding lead that the final round became almost irrelevant. Birkenhead needed to lose all three of their games, whilst Glenfield needed to win all of theirs to catch Birkenhead and claim the title. When Glenfield's singles player lost his match, the result was beyond doubt with all matches being called off at this point. In saying this, all three of the Birkenhead disciplines were well in front of their games at this point.

It was a fantastic result for this team, who went through the final day unbeaten, the only blemish being a 15-15 draw in the fours against Glenfield. The final team was Colin Bouzaid, Bruce Cochrane, Keith Burgess, John Hindmarch, Steve Doolan, Shane Gibson, and Merv Garred. An outstanding display from Bruce and Keith saw them win all ten matches they played in the competition, a marvelous effort.

The regional playoffs will see Birkenhead play against the Premier Two Interclub winners from Auckland, Northland and the Far North to see who will represent Region One at the National Finals in Palmerston North in March.

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Bowls North Harbour Championship Pairs

Late on the Sunday afternoon of the 2nd November, Birkenhead Bowling Club was celebrating not one but TWO centre titles. In a repeat of last seasons final, Tony Grantham and Ross Haresnape were again successful with an extra end victory over Scott Curran and Don Trott, also of Birkenhead, in the open event. With Don gunning for a fifth centre title and a gold star, it was a tight affair, eventually finishing 17-17 after the regulation 18 ends. However it was Tony and Ross who held their nerve in a gripping extra end to win the title 19-17.

It was a good performance across the board from Birkenhead, with four combinations coming through the first day of qualifying to the last 16 on Sunday morning. Perhaps the biggest surprise was the success of Ra Te Amo and Mark Emiralli, who played exceptionally on Saturday, only to come up against eventual winners Tony and Scott in their first game on Sunday morning. Despite going behind early, a valiant fight back from the two underdogs was not quite enough. However it was a great effort from this first time combination.

Also qualifying were Keith Burgess and Dennis Matthews, who won their first game against the Mairangi Bay pairing of Brian Rogers and John Coady. Behind all game, it took an exceptional last bowl from Dennis on the 18th end to tie the game and force an extra end. With the Birkenhead boys tightening up and holding shots, Coady missed two run shots to allow Keith and Dennis passage into the last eight. Here they met Brendan Kelly and Doug Parlane from Browns Bay. A tight battle ensued, with Birkenhead leading by three shots playing the final end. However two superb draw bowls from Doug allowed Browns Bay to square the match and force an extra end. Keith played three beautiful draw bowls to the kitty, unfortunately leaving a target for Doug Parlane who with his first bowl drained the kitty in the ditch. This left Dennis the almost impossible task on the slick Browns Bay green of drawing virtually to the edge of the ditch for the victory. Despite a valiant effort, it was not quite enough and the win went to the Browns Bay combination, which were beaten in the semi final by Tony and Ross.

Congratulations to Tony and Ross who seem almost unbeatable as a pair's combination at present. Well done also to Trotty and Scott, who for the second year running in this event were left unfortunately ruing what might have been.

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Bowls North Harbour 5yr and Under Pairs

The second Centre title came in the 5yr and under pairs, where 3rd year bowler Brian Wilson and 2nd year Dave Good overcame some stiff opposition to win their first Centre titles. Playing Dave Moverley and Mike Haggart (Fish) of Northcote in the semi-final, the Birkenhead combination never looked troubled, winning by a convincing margin. Both Birkenhead players played exceptional bowls, and although Dave Moverley seemed sorely troubled at times with a leg injury, even at full fitness it would have been unlikely to have made a difference against the steady and consistent lead bowls of Brian.

The final was played against surprise finalists Leon Wech and Matt Stratton of Mairangi Bay. Although a fairly tight affair, the final scoreline of 16-14 was a little unrealistic as Mairangi needed a 5 on the final end to force an extra end, and the Birkenhead combination chose to cover against the possible loss of 5 rather than actively look for the shot. A great moment for both bowlers, and congratulations must go to them both.

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Birkenhead Bowling Club 5yr and under Singles

Over the weekend of the 25th and 26th October, Birkenhead saw there 5yr and under Singles Championships decided. With 20 players attempting to qualify for the 8 spots in post section on Sunday, it seemed there would be some fairly cut-throat competition on Saturday's qualifying day. An entry of 20 players is indicative of the strength currently in the club, especially at this junior level. It was fantastic to see the entry of seven first year bowlers in this event. The only disappointing aspect of this was that the event was not held later in the season to give these guys a bit more bowls under their belts. However this is a sign of the increasing pressure on programme schedules and schedulers, who do their very best to fit all events into the season.

With several North Harbour Junior as well as Development players in the mix, it was hard to predict a winner in what turned out to be a very tight competition. The one major surprise in qualifying was the failure of Brian Wilson to progress to Sundays post-section. However the 'draw from hell' saw Brian drop games to Mark Rumble and Bruce Cochrane before beating Dave Good in his final game. Two wins on the day though was not enough for him to qualify. In fact it turned out thatthree wins would not be enough for the luckless Pierre Gielen to qualify either. Despite playing some beautiful bowls and beating Martin Short, his differential of +7 was only good enough to qualify in 9th place. It was great to see last seasons first year singles winner Gary Cooley continue some of that good form to qualify in 8th spot with a +16 diff, just 9 shots better than Pierre. Of the eight qualifiers, six were current or former members of the North Harbour 5yr and under team that has performed so well in recent seasons.

The first round of post section saw several 'upsets' with Rick Bannister toppling Martin Short and Johnny Hindmarch overwhelming Nigel Drew. In the top half of the draw, Bruce Cochrane and Mark Rumble progressed into the semi finals. Bruce and Mark had another of their friendly battles before Mark eventually triumphed. John and Rick had a superb game, with Rick never giving up only to fall at the last hurdle as John managed to scrape home. The final was played in good comradeship and some quality bowls were played. With the score at 20-18 to John, Mark was holding one and with his final bowl looked like he had played the perfect bowl to sit on Johns closest to make it a 20-20 scoreline. At the last moment however the bowl straightened and instead of sitting, it touched the edge of Johns to push it for shot, giving the victory Johnny. It was a second 5yr and under club singles title for John who won it as a first year 4 seasons ago. He is now shooting for a third title next season in his last year as an under 5 bowler to match President Rods record of three 5yr and under singles titles. Good luck to you John and well done.

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Birkenhead Bowling Club Championship Singles

Birkenhead's Club Singles are over for another season, after three days of scintillating competition. Two days of qualifying were held, Section A on Thursday 16th October and Section B on Saturday 18th October. This year there were 46 entrants over the two days of qualifying, with the top 16 qualifiers being taken through to Finals day on Sunday. Undoubted favourites for the event were Tony Grantham and Ross Haresnape, who both qualified with no hitches. Sandy Cleghorn for the second time in two seasons was the top qualifier, having four very comfortable victories in qualifying. It was also great to see four Juniors qualify for post-section – Mike Turner, Bruce Cochrane, Dave Good, and Nigel Drew. Others to qualify were Ray Urwin, Keith Burgess, Steve Doolan, Colin Bouzaid, Shane Gibson, Don Trott, Merv Garred, Shaun Bayne and defending champion Rod Mahon.

Of the Juniors, Dave Good and Mike Turner both did exceptionally well to qualify through to the semi-finals on either side of the draw. Dave defeated Merv Garred and then Nigel Drew, who had knocked out Shaun Bayne in his first game. Mike came through after a close encounter with Keith Burgess and then a good win over Ray Urwin. Ray had beaten Sandy in his first game, thus continuing Sandy's tradition of being top qualifier and then first round loser in post-section – the second year in a row he has done this in the Singles.

Bruce Cochrane was drawn against Ross Haresnape in his first game, and gave a very good account of himself before finally being defeated. Tony Grantham was pushed all the way by Steve Doolan before finally overcoming the stubborn 'Doolie'. Tony then played Ross, and despite Ross's perseverance, Tony overcame him to advance to the semi-finals. Shane Gibson also progressed to the semi-finals after two close matches against Don Trott and Rod Mahon.

This left Tony playing Mike Turner and Shane playing Dave Good. Tony and Mike set too and for a while there looked like there might be an upset on the cards, with Mike playing some outstanding bowls and leading for a long way. Tony however hung in and after taking the lead at 17-16 continued on for his spot in the final. Shane and Dave began, and after a marathon of over three hours Shane eventually managed to subdue the gallant Dave 21-19. Dave was desperately unlucky not to win the match with his last bowl, missing a trail of the jack by mere inches.

So just after 5pm on Sunday, the final finally got underway, with Shane Gibson playing Tony Grantham. Both players had previously won the singles at Birkenhead, Shane most recently 2 seasons ago when Tony did not compete. Tony quickly shot out to a 6-0 lead, and this was a margin he was never to relinquish. Shane played some very good saving shots, but Tony's consistency held out in the end for a 21-16 victory. Both players enjoyed great support during the final, with a large crowd staying until the 7:10pm finish. The crowd support was fantastic throughout the day, with some very vocal support coming from the outside verandah. It was a long day for both players, with games starting at 9am. Tony had a long period of waiting before the final, which he apparently filled in with a couple of pints and a roast pork roll – perhaps a secret recipe for success for the rest of us?

Congratulations to all those who entered and played over the three days. I think most will agree that there were some superb bowls played during the competition. As well, a big thank-you needs to be given to all of those who gave up their own time to come down and mark. It is very hard to run a singles competition without markers, and I know all of those playing are very appreciative of having someone down at the other end. Well done.

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Birkenhead Bowling Club Championship Triples

On Saturday 4th October fifteen triples combinations arrived at Birkenhead to fight out the first club championship of the season. Four games of qualifying were held, with the top eight qualifying for post section play on Sunday. After some quality bowls, only one team managed to win all four games on Saturday, one of the favoured combinations of Dave Good, Tony Grantham and Ross Haresnape. Behind these guys, it was a mad scramble for the other 7 spots, with several two winners qualifying for Sunday.

Sunday dawned cloudy and overcast, and with a strong wind blowing - conditions that made bowling very tough. The Haresnape combination came through a tough quarter-final against Martin Short, Nigel Drew and Lionel Drew, whilst in the pick of the other matches saw Mark Rumble, Paul Freeth and Shaun Bayne over come a resilient Robbie Church, Curtis Ennor and Paul Jones.

After comfortable wins in their respective semi-finals, Haresnape, Grantham and Good played Bayne, Freeth and Rumble in the final. Going out to an early lead, the favoured combination never looked back, and it was another club title for Haresnape and Grantham. For Dave Good, it was his first senior club championship. Well done.


Quarter Finals

R. Haresnape, T. Grantham, D. Good beat L. Drew, N. Drew, M. Short 20-14
D. Matthews, K. Burgess, D. Stephens beat R. Bannister, J. Whiteford, P. Gielen 20-7
S. Bayne, P. Freeth, M. Rumble beat P. Jones, C. Ennor, R. Church 16-13
S. Doolan, S. Cleghorn, C. Bouzaid beat R. Mahon, G. Stevens, T. Moverley 23-8


R. Haresnape, T. Grantham, D. Good beat D .Matthews, K. Burgess, D. Stephens 22-10
S. Bayne, P. Freeth, M. Rumble beat S. Doolan, S. Cleghorn, C. Bouzaid 28-2


R. Haresnape, T. Grantham, D. Good beat S. Bayne, P. Freeth, M. Rumble

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Bowls North Harbour Premier Men's Singles -

The Bowls North Harbour Premier Men's Singles were held over the weekend of the 13th and 14th of September, with Birkenhead player Lionel Drew winning the final against Murray Radojkovich of Mairangi Bay late on Sunday afternoon after a grueling weekend that included 8 games of singles for the two finalists. The format included two sets of 9 ends, with a tie-breaker of 3 ends then held if both players had won a set each.

Held at various venues around the centre, Birkenhead had 16 competitors in the event including 5 under-5yr players – a fine achievement in an event of this stature. Included amongst the 16 was first year bowler Garry Banks who performed remarkably well for his level of experience against three tough opponents.

Players competed in sections of 4, with the winner of each section then playing their first post-section game on Saturday afternoon. Seven Birkenhead players won their sections, including second year bowler Dave Good, who eventually lost to talented but sometime headstrong Orewa bowler David Eades in a tie-break. A great effort from Dave who shows that practice does make a difference. As well, Roy Parker won a very difficult section, only to be defeated by Riverhead bowler Ricky Howe.

This left 5 players with the 'bee on their breast' in the last 16 of this very competitive competition, an indication of the strength and depth of the club at the present time. The 5 were Don Trott, Ross Haresnape, Merv Garred, Lionel Drew, and Rod Mahon. Don, Merv and Rod all lost their first game on Sunday despite playing some excellent bowls against very strong opposition, whilst Lionel and Ross both won their matches. Ross gained some payback on David Eades after he had beaten Dave Good the previous evening.

Unfortunately from a club point of view, Lionel and Ross were drawn to meet each other in the quarterfinal. With the wind causing some problems for both players, a sometimes untidy match went to Lionel in straight sets. Lionel proved more consistent on the draw than Ross, and this in the end proved the decisive factor. In other quarter-finals, David Hood of Kerikeri accounted for Steve Cox of Henderson, Murray Radojkovich defeated under 5yr bowler Ricky Howe of Riverhead, and Lotto Fa'ka'alofa of Mt Richmond defeated Dave McFadyen of Howick. Lionel defeated Lotto and Murray defeated David to setup up a Birkenhead / Mairangi Bay showdown in the final.

The first set went to Lionel 10-7 in a close encounter. The second set was somewhat different with Murray putting his head down and pulling out to an unbeatable 12-0 lead to finish the second set early and send the match into a tie-breaker. After the regulation 3 ends, the scores were locked at 3-3. This led to a fourth-end tiebreaker, effectively sending the game into a 1 end match with the winner to take all. With each player having one bowl left, Murray was holding two shots for the game. He let his final bowl go to a groan, knowing that he was narrow – unfortunately so narrow that he knocked up a short bowl of Lionel's, leaving it lying shot and with the win in his hand, Lionel put his last bowl into his pocket.

Congratulations to Lionel, and also a big hand to all of those Birkenhead members who turned up to support. It was fantastic to see so many of you there, with several remarks around the green such as 'have we come to the Birkenhead club' indicating that this had not gone unnoticed by others. Well done to all of those Birkenhead members who competed and supported. A great start to the season and let's make it continue. Well done!

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Bowls North Harbour Winter Cup -
First Trophy of the Season goes to BIRKENHEAD!

Throughout the past few months, the Bowls North Harbour Winter Cup has been running – when the rain has eased enough to allow it too. Teams from clubs throughout North Harbour have been participating in this event which is the equivalent of a mid-week Interclub played on artificial greens during winter. Using the 'Bonus 4's' format, each team gets 2 points for a win and 1 point for a draw, and the competition is held using a full round-robin format. Birkenhead has two teams entered in the competition – the Birkenhead 'Bantams' and the Birkenhead 'Bitterns'. The names were assigned and not chosen...

The 'Bitterns' team has consisted mostly of Rod Mahon, Roy Parker, Sandy Cleghorn and Colin Bouzaid – although they will be without president Rod for this final round. The Bantams have consisted mostly of Lionel Drew, Shane Gibson, Keith Burgess and Bruce Cochrane, with able assistance from Kevin (Scratch) George when a certain member of this team decided that Manly was a bit to far to travel to and decided he 'needed' to work for his son that day. No names will be mentioned, but he has a tendency to bowl the odd wrong bias at times, as well as other team mates bowls...

The first day was not all that successful for either team. Both the 'Bantams' and the 'Bitterns' managed just one win apiece. The 'Bitterns' win coming in a close, hard fought encounter against the Bantams, in which Roy Parker's ability to hurl his green bowls down the rink at furious speeds proved to be much of the difference.

However, since then both Birkenhead sides have performed more than admirably, with the 'Bitterns' sitting in 5th place on the table going into the final day of competition at Mairangi Bay on Wednesday the 3rd September and the 'Bantams' sitting second on the table. They have the same number of points as current leaders Mairangi Bay but have a slightly inferior shot differential, but with a game in hand due to Mairangi having the bye in the last round...

The final day at Mairangi Bay had the potential of turning into a very exciting affair, and it certainly did. There were 3 games to be played on the final day. All teams have received a bye at some point in the competition due to the uneven numbers, and no points were awarded for the bye. Therefore, the 'Bantams' had the opportunity to overtake the leaders Mairangi Bay as long as everything went to plan and they won all 3 matches. This had to include a victory in the first game over the ever wily John Morgan and his Warkworth side, who sat in 4th spot, and were in the mix for overall victory along with 3rd placed Orewa skipped by David Eades.

The 'Bantams' first match with Warkworth went down to the wire. Birkenhead shot out to an early 16-4 lead, only to be pegged back by some superb bowls by John Morgan. Going into the last end, things were very tight, and with just the two skips to play Warkworth were holding two shots for the win. Both shot bowls were sitting 1 foot in front of the kitty, with four Birkenhead bowls surrounding. Lionel Drew with his first bowl spectacularly drove the two Warkworth bowls off the rink, hitting the split perfectly and leaving Birkenhead holding four shots. With Warkworth needing two to win, John Morgan needed to trail the bare jack three feet for the win but was unable to do so, leaving four very relieved Birkenhead bowlers breathing a sigh of relief.

With Mairangi Bay winning their first game as well, both sides were still locked together at the top of the table. Next up for the Bantams was Browns Bay, and halfway through the 12 end game Birkenhead trailed 14-3. With interest sparking around the green, the last two ends were played with a large audience of mainly Mairangi bowlers and supporters, waiting in eager anticipation of a Birkenhead loss. However, thanks largely to four consecutive 2's of the front from Bruce and Keith for the bonus shots, they clawed their way back, to eventually win comfortably enough. Crestfallen Mairangi bowlers knew then that the competition was out of their hands, and all they could do was sit back, watch, and hope that Birkenhead lost to Devonport in their last game.

Knowing the fate of the competition was in their hands, the Birkenhead 'Bantams' approached their last game with suitable confidence. However, with all four playing possibly their worst game of the competition, the match came down to the last end. Leading by two shots, Birkenhead lost the bonus points after the Devonport Two drew a resting toucher with his second bowl. At this crucial moment in the game, Birkenhead's two Keith Burgess, with his second and last bowl played a... wrong bias! Concentrating so hard on the shot he needed to play, unfortunately Keith didn't look at the symbols on his bowl.

This meant that the score was 20-19, and Devonport holding shot with a resting toucher. Shane Gibson, who had played abysmally all game, stepped up and played exactly what his skip asked him to and drew the counting shot bowl off to sit next to the jack for shot. With Lionel playing two covering shots, the Devonport skip attempted to drive the shot bowl off but to no avail. The trophy was Birkenhead's for the second time in six years. They had previously won it in 2003 with a team consisting of three of the winning side this time.

Congratulations to Bruce Cochrane, Keith Burgess, Shane Gibson, and Lionel Drew. Hopefully this is a sign of things to come for the club, and we look forward to seeing many more successes in the upcoming season out there on the green.


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