The good thing was Steve Love and Wayne Stewart only had to travel to Manawatu when they finished the bowls final in Hastings at 9.15pm yesterday.

The bad thing was someone had to lose the New Zealand Professional Bowls Association international singles qualifier at Club Hastings.

When the static electricity subsided on lane 3 after two days of competition indoor, Love was left grinning and former Scottish Open winner Stewart putting it down to a long layoff from playing after the 11-5, 11-5 result.

An expressive Love, who has a penchant for running between ends to stay fit, said the slow game against Giddy had changed his game plan to speed the things up because he "didn't chase the bowls ever".


"So I just stayed on the mat after I delivered the bowl," said the 56-year-old Rongotea truckie who is at the cusp of becoming an owner/operator of his own transport business.

It is the fourth time Love has qualified for the international singles before the nationals to be staged here on September 14-16, starting with the Shanghai Finals on the Friday.

He competed at Invercargill, Dunedin and Hastings in previous national finals without any joy of going overseas.

So will it be his year and what's different this time?

"I'm in better shape and form," he said, revealing a new carpet laid at the Johnston Park BC in Feilding had helped him adjust to artificial surfaces better in practising throughout the year.

He felt it also helped he was on the "right side" of the draw where, in the derby clash, host club member Dean Drummond beat hometown favourite Murray Glassey 6-5, 6-10 on a 2-0 tie break for the quarterfinals berth.

Love, of Rongotea, beat 83-year-old Giddy 10-7, 8-6 in their semifinal before the final started at 8pm.

Stewart, of Palmerston North, beat Isaacson 6-5, 11-6 in the first semifinal while Jack Giddy, of Taupo, was finishing his quarter-final.

"I haven't played bowls for seven months but I struggled all the way through," said the 62-year-old Kiwirail manager who had transferred from Hamilton to Palmy North in March, joining the Terrace End BC.

Wayne Stewart, of Palmerston, did well to make the final after not playing since March. Photo/Paul Taylor
Wayne Stewart, of Palmerston, did well to make the final after not playing since March. Photo/Paul Taylor

Stewart lauded Love for "playing some magic bowls" although he had his chances but didn't capitalise.

He wished Love all the best in the national finals.

All seven NZPBA venues were finding national qualifiers for the international open singles to earn the right to represent the country in Blackpool, England, in March.

The other venues are New Lynn (Auckland), Frankton Railway (Hamilton), Paritutu (New Plymouth) and Naenae (Wellington) in the North Island and Dunedin Community Bowls Stadium and Waverley Club (Invercargill) in the South Island.

In other 2-0 tie break wins for the quarterfinals berth, Giddy prevailed over Dave Henderson, of Taradale, 8-3, 10-11; Peter Jones, of Club Hastings, beat Tilly Carlson, of National Service Club (Hastings), 8-9, 10-1; and Grant Sargison, of Bluff Hill (Napier) beat Warren Gibson, of Feilding, 10-5, 5-7.

Stewart scraped past Steve Asquith, of Kia Toa (Hastings), 8-9, 9-4 on a 2-1 tiebreak.

The clear-cut winners were Love beating Merv Brown, of Bay View, 8-3, 12-0 while Terry Johnson, of Northern (Palmerston North), had the measure of Gavin Keighley, of Club Hastings, 13-3, 6-3.

In the quarterfinals, Giddy pipped Jones 4-6, 11-5 on a 2-1 tiebreak, Love trounced Sargison 10-1, 9-5, Isaacson had to toil against Johnson before prevailing 7-8, 8-7 and a 2-0 tiebreak and Stewart stopped New Zealand No 3 Drummond's progress 2-8, 10-4 and a 2-0 tiebreak.

Nobility was the winner when the ranking singles careered towards the business end on Saturday night.

The deposed No 1 seed in the country, Glassey, and fellow Hawke's Bay rival Ian Mason deferred their final to Saturday, September 1.

"Ian had to travel back to Waipawa because he's not the youngest player here," said Glassey, of Hastings, referring to 77-year-old Mason who represents Havelock North BC but commutes from Waipawa.

The pair, who are both in the Bay outdoor bowls squad trails on September 1, will complete the final after that at the same venue.

"It's better to play it then because there'll be more people to watch the game," Glassey said.

Mason, a retired entrepreneur in the panel and paint shop business in Hastings, said he had left home at 7am on Saturday to compete so it as a long day for him. The finalists had played four games that day.

Mason had lost to the then teenager, Bradley Down, of Victoria BC (Wellington), in the ranking singles final here in 2016.

"They [younger players] are probably much fitter than what I am at the end of the day but I'm still very competitive," said the former Bay outdoor bowls selector who will represent the province for 45 consecutive years if selector Tony Terry picks him for the men's team.

However, Glassey stopped shy of his six-game wins target in registering enough points to wrest the top rung back from Craig Merrilees, of Invercargill.

In the semifinals, the 42-year-old Heinz Watties employee had an arm wrestle with Johnson 5-8, 11-3 before edging past to the final with a 2-0 tie break from three ends.

Mason beat Henderson 12-5, 7-5.

Steve Love, of Manawatu, plays for Johnston Park Bowling Club in Feilding. Photo/Paul Taylor
Steve Love, of Manawatu, plays for Johnston Park Bowling Club in Feilding. Photo/Paul Taylor