Happy wedding anniversary Lloyd ... from Louise and Jo.
Hawke's Bay bowlers Louise Fitness and Jo Hayes dished up a perfect belated first wedding anniversary present for Fitness and her husband Lloyd when they won the national women's club pairs championship in Hamilton yesterday with a 20-9 win against Carolyn Crawford and Sharon McCaw of the St Clair club in Dunedin in their final. Lloyd, who was also representing the Bowls Taradale club in Hamilton, was beaten in the final of the men's singles on Saturday, the Fitness' first wedding anniversary.
"I had to try and go one better than Lloyd ... although he did really well for such an inexperienced bowler," skip Fitness said after last night's presentation at the Stadium Bowling Club.
"Lloyd did a great job today. He was our No1 supporter, waterboy and media officer who kept busy texting our results to everyone," Hayes said.
This was the first national title for the pair who have been playing together for 10 years. The first eight years of their bowling career was at the Bay View club before they switched to Bowls Taradale.
"We learnt at the same time and were coached by Barry Wakely. Barry believed in us and told us we could do it and today we did," Fitness said.
"Barry was so dedicated. He took us to lots of tournaments so we could get experience," Hayes explained.
The pair, who will attempt to retain their title next year, won two of their three section games to qualify first for post-section play. In their quarterfinal Fitness and Hayes beat Adele Greenfield and Verna Veint of the Beckenham club in Christchurch 20-13.
The Bowls Taradale pair beat Wendy Green and Lynette McIntosh of Bay of Plenty's Ngongotaha club 19-17 in their semifinal. Green and McIntosh fought back after conceding a big lead and, as the score suggests, Fitness and Hayes were always in command of their final.
Hayes said they were rapt with the support they received from Hawke's Bay's men's and triples teams, Phil Young, Mark Stevenson and Neil Barron of Bowls Taradale and Susan Belcher, Liffy Law and Heather Leyland of Havelock North, during the final. They start their campaigns today.
"Hopefully our success rubs off on them," Hayes said.
When congratulating the pair Bowls Hawke's Bay president Colleen Ferrick said they continued the tradition of Hawke's Bay teams winning a national clubs title every two years.
In 2012 the Bowls Heretaunga pair of Murray Glassey and Paul Selby won the men's pairs title in Invercargill and in 2014 a Heretaunga team of Lynn Stowe, Ferrick and Lois Stewart won the women's triples title in Dunedin.
Lloyd Fitness was beaten 25-12 by Carlton Cornwall's Petar Sain in his final on Saturday. A sixth year bowler, Lloyd, exceeded expectations by reaching the final.
Combine this feat with his unbeaten singles run at the recent 8 Years and Under Intercentre tournament in Wellington and it's obvious the 68-year-old has plenty of ability in the code.
A former Wanganui rugby frontrower, Fitness played 17 first-class games from 1974-76 including a Ranfurly Shield challenge against Auckland at Eden Park. Former All Blacks, centre Bill Osborne and halfback Andy Donald, were in the same team.