Michael Brown was the best of the Hawke's Bay players as the host province finished third in the Paterson Trophy Zone 2 indoor bowls tournament in Napier at the weekend.
Central Hawke's Bay's Brown won 8.5 of his 11 games and skipped the Hawke's Bay A four, which also included Bruce Dalton, Mark and Mike Appleby, to three wins in four outings. Pirimai's Mark Appleby was the next best of the Bay players with eight wins.
Tauranga were convincing winners of the tournament with 92 points. Waikato were second with 72.5, Hawke's Bay scored 69.5, Bay of Plenty were fourth with 55.5 and Poverty Bay fifth with 40.5.
Former North Island rep Geoff Coughey won all of his 11 games for Tauranga and multiple national champion Lorraine Phipps won 10 of her 11 games. Tauranga will join the winners of the other five zones at the Welch Trophy inter-district final in Pukekohe from September 6-8.
"It was reasonably close between the top three teams on Saturday but today Tauranga pulled away and in the end were too good," Hawke's Bay Indoor Bowls Association's publicity officer Emma Ludeman said.
Hawke's Bay last qualified for Welch Trophy play in 1991. This weekend's Hawke's Bay team included stalwart Bruce Dalton who turns 74 next week and has been playing at Paterson Trophy level for Hawke's Bay since 1994.
Every year his birthday is just after the Paterson Trophy tournament and he has been hoping for Welch Trophy qualification as an early birthday present.
"To qualify for the Welch Trophy inter-district final would mean a huge amount. It's the Ranfurly Shield of indoor bowls," Dalton said before the Paterson Trophy tournament.
It will be interesting to see if he has another crack next year.