By BOB PEARCE
Pakuranga bowler Mike Galloway played the drive of his life to win the national pairs title at Onehunga yesterday, but came up short in his bid to add the singles crown to his haul.
Galloway and David Clark beat Palmerston North brothers Russell and Ian Meyer 13-11 in the pairs, but then Galloway was well beaten, 14-21, by Dunedin's Mike Kernaghan in the singles final.
Early in the day, Sid Giddy's Mt Maunganui team retained their fours title, 29-7, over a composite four skipped by Richard Girvan and including the Meyer brothers.
Galloway's drive of a lifetime came on the final end of the pairs when he led 13-10, but the Meyers were holding five shots, enough for victory.
"My only hope was to kill it all," he said later. "I went with a backhand drive and as soon as I let it go I knew it was right on target."
The final end was replayed and, though the Meyers picked up one, Galloway and Clark had the title.
Galloway admitted he found it very difficult to lift himself again for the singles final, which followed after a short break.
And he found himself against a tough competitor in Kernaghan from the Kaikorai Club in Dunedin.
Kernaghan, a national representative until 1999 and formerly bowls development officer for the sport, scored a three on the first end and was never headed.
"The wind out there was very tricky coming from an unusual angle and the green was so quick it was hard to be consistent," he said.
"But I've got a very competitive nature and I knew that, if I was struggling, then he must be, too. I hate losing.
"I managed to put together a couple of good heads early on and he wasn't able to put me under pressure."
Giddy and his Mt Maunganui four continued their 24-game winning streak at the nationals, retaining the title they won last year in the Bay of Plenty.
Giddy, Lance Tasker, Kevin Maxfield and Maurice Hickey gave the Australian-based Girvan no chance.
Girvan had a three on the first end, but scored on only two others as the Mount four dominated proceedings.
It was the third national fours title for the 68-year-old Giddy and possibly his most satisfying.
"When we won last year, people said it was a one-off in our home town," he said.
"But these star weed surfaces at Onehunga are completely different.
"It was a real team effort and very satisfying because it shows what a club team can still do. I was surprised how easy the final was. Those boys are a lot better than they played today."
Giddy hopes to make the trip to Dunedin to defend his title next year. He has never played in that city.
The prize for most consistent player went to Australian-based Peter Belliss, who reached the semifinals in all three disciplines.
The national selectors will have plenty to ponder after this Tower tournament, with some new names emerging and some established players below their best.
Teams have to be selected for a test series against Ireland in March and the clash with Australia across the Tasman in April.
By BOB PEARCE