Powerhouse Wellington Bowls teams flexed their muscle to win back-to-back Central Region Octagonal Tournament titles at the weekend.
Led by an unbeaten Seamus Curtin in the singles, Wellington again finished on top once overall scores were tallied at the Central Bowling Club in Levin.
After 234 matches it was Wellington with the most overall points with 21.5 wins ahead of Manawatū with 19, and five wins ahead of Taranaki with 16.5. The half-point denotes a drawn match.
Wellington won the corresponding tournament in New Plymouth last season and brought with them a strong team of 10, joining a top field that read like a "who's who" of Central Region bowlers.
Also scattered among the Levin green were the likes of Ray Park, Ray Martin, Robbie Bennett, Mark Noble, Aiden Zittersteijn, Finbar McGuigan, Ben King, Robbie Bird and Caleb Hope.
But it was the Wellington outfit that were hard to topple all weekend. Seamus Curtin, who was also a New Zealand development player, showed what a talent he was, beating eventual runner-up Bruce Winterburn from Wanganui 25-14 in their match.
There was a shining light for the home side with the Kāpiti triples team of Graeme Corlett, Dereck Taylor and Paul Rybinski going through the tournament undefeated, accounting for Wellington 18-13 when those sides met.
Put in context, the only other side to go through the tournament unbeaten were the Manawatū Fours team of Mark Noble, Steven Toms, Terry Curtis and Tim Hook.
Noble, a New Zealand parajack representative, showed his class with some deft bowling at crucial stages over the weekend.
The pairs tournament was won by Paul Harrison and Leighton Shanks from East Coast, doing enough to hold on after dropping games to Manawatū and Hawkes Bay.
More than tournament honours were at stake though, with several selectors from their respective regions travelling to the tournament, among them national selector Peter Bellis.
Those selectors now had an unenviable task as each region was now painfully forced to shed three players ahead of the national Inter-centre seven-aside tournament in Wellington in March, although there would be one player permitted to travel as a reserve.
Kāpiti Coast Centre vice-president and selector Graham Fairburn was pleased with the way the Levin Central green played, with bowlers commentating on how well it had played.
There weren't many spare beds in town with many staying locally, exhausting motel space.
Further south at the Paraparaumu Bowling Club, the Wellington women's team made it a clean-sweep, finishing ahead of Taranaki, Hawke's Bay and Kāpiti Coast after final points were tallied.
New Zealand national singles title holder Nicole Toomey won the triples event with Sarah Taukamo and Kay Martin, while Dale Rainer and Kaaren Guilford took out the pairs
The Taranaki team of Trish Howard, Rhonda Adams, Susan Cottam and Anne Brophy won the fours event, while Sheryl Viggers from Hawkes Bay won the singles overall.
Gisborne East Coast 13
Hawkes Bay 12
Kāpiti Coast 10.5
Singles: 1 Seamus Curtin (Wellington). 2 Bruce Winterburn (Wanganui). 3 Darren Goodin (Taranaki).
Pairs: 1 Paul Harrison, Leighton Shanks (East Coast). 2 Pat Horgan, Dean Gilshan (Manawatū). 3 Dwayne Cameron, Dean Drummond (Hawkes Bay).
Triples: 1 Graeme Corlett, Dereck Taylor, Paul Rybinski (Kāpiti). 2 Aaron Love, Caleb Hope, Robbie Bennett (Wellington). 3 Craig De Faria, Steve Walker, John Garrud (Taranaki).
Fours: 1 Mark Noble, Steven Toms, Terry Curtis, Tim Hook (Manawatū). 2 Dean Elgar, Gerry O'Sullivan, Aiden Zittersteijn, Daryl Read (Taranaki). 3 Ben King, Adam Turner, Grant Wakefield, Robbie Bird (Wellington).
Hawke's Bay 16.5
Kapiti Coast 13.5
Gisborne East Coast 11.5
Singles: 1 Shery Viggers (Hawkes Bay). 2 Clare Hendra (Wellington). 3 Makaia Campbell (Wairarapa).
Pairs: 1 Dale Rayner, Kaaren Guilford (Wellington). 2 Liouse Fitness, Lilian Tukiri (Hawkes Bay). 3 Sharon Sims, Julianne Mills (Manawatu).
Triples: 1 Nicole Toomey, Sarah Taukomo, Kay Martin (Wellington. 2 Robyn Klenner, Ann Potaka, Ella Smalles (Taranaki). 3 Mere Fryer, R Schischka, Georgie Kahui-Rogers (Manawatū).
Fours: 1 Trish Howard, Rhonda Adams, Susan Cottam, Anne Brophy (Taranaki). 2 Audrey Stephenson, Eileen Jones, Ronnie Crone, Fane Vessey (Kapiti Coast). 3 Tanya Wheeler, Janalle Frew, Leah MacKenzie, Rozanna Muriwai (Wairarapa).