Bowls: Waipawa carry Bay's hopes

Believe it ... you better because its true.

The Bowls Waipawa men's fours team which will represent Hawke's Bay at today's zone three regional playoffs at Bowls Napier contains just one player, skip Ian Mason, who has won a centre title previously. It is the first team from the Central Hawke's Bay club to play in a regional playoff and the first to win the Hawke's Bay men's open fours title.

What makes the four's qualifying for the event more of a feat is the fact lead Gordon Annand is in his third year of bowling and the previous two were 25 years ago when he played at the Otane club. For the other two first time centre winners in the quartet playing today is an appropriate reward for some lengthy service to the code.

Michael Brown, who will have the two role, has played for nine years and is also a Hawke's Bay indoor bowls representative. Three Gary Allerby has played for more than 15 years and last season won all four titles, singles, pairs, triples and fours, in the club championships.

Skip Mason, who is a member of both the Heretaunga and Waipawa clubs, has won eight centre titles and the open fours twice. When Mason outlined some of their "victims" in last month's open tournament it was easy to gauge why the Waipawa four set tongues wagging at Bowls Napier.

In the final they beat a Bowls Heretaunga team of skip Tony Terry, three Mike Isaacson, two Denis Biggs and lead Pat O'Neill 11-10 after an extra end. In their semifinal they beat a Havelock North team skipped by former Magpie Tony Small 14-13 and in their quarter-final a Bay View team skipped by Barry Wakely 17-9.

Mason has labelled his team the "fourth seeds" for today's play which will see them take on teams from Manawatu, Gisborne-East Coast and Wairarapa.

"Gisborne-East Coast's team will be tough ... they've got a bloke who I regard as the best bowler in the country," Mason said referring to David File.

A Havelock North team will represent the Bay in the women's fours.

Several Bay bowlers have already secured berths at the June nationals in Invercargill. Bowls Napier's Dave Stevenson in the men's singles as well as the men's pair where he leads for his brother Mark.

Bay View's Natarsha Grimshaw has qualified in the women's singles. Omarunui's Dot Palmer and Robyn Wallace have qualified in the women's pair and in the triples with Ngaire McKinlay.

Earlier this week the Stevenson brothers were in the Bowls Napier team which won the men's seven interclub playoffs to book a berth in the March 23 and 34 nationals in Palmerston North.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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