Mandy Boyd is just 20 and has played bowls for only six years, but by Wednesday afternoon she could have gained her second national title.
Boyd, a product of the emphasis Bowls New Zealand has placed on youth in recent years, entered the singles final yesterday when she comfortably won her semifinal 21-9 against another of the national development squad, Silverstream's Clare McCaul.
Boyd will meet Sandra Keith, from the Leeston club, in the final, with Keith an equally decisive winner against Waikato's Sue Burnand in yesterday's other semifinal.
Burnand skipped Boyd, her sister Angela and Leanne Curry to last year's four championship and they will defend that title this week. As they played alongside each other yesterday at the Carlton-Cornwall club, Burnand and Boyd wore an acronym, Slam, taken from their respective Christian names, on the back of their shirts.
Tall and athletic, Boyd, a fine arts student in Wellington, showed a style yesterday reminiscent of the country's leading women's player Jo Edwards. She overpowered McCaul with the sort of aggressive run shots, which have made her an effective fours skip of the national under 25 side.
Burnand and Keith both share a considerable background in indoor bowls, in which they have both been national champions. "Sue is one of my best mates so it was hard playing against her," Keith said.
Though playing at Leeston, where she partners former national player Serena Matthews, Keith lives and works in Ashburton. She has a strong family connection with the outdoor game. Her father, Sandy, introduced her to bowls and was a member of a Canterbury country four which got to the last stages of the national championships in Auckland in 1985.