Bowlers vie for national honours


SOUTHLAND’S leading bowlers will venture to Wellington next week to contest the Bowls New Zealand National Intercentre, an event which will bring together 26 provinces to find a national winner.

Last year’s event was cancelled due to the Covid-19 Alert Level 4 lockdown so bowlers from throughout New Zealand will be hoping the Alert Level 1 status will stay long enough to complete one of Bowls New Zealand’s flagship tournaments.

The women’s team will be looking to continue the form which won it the southern zone tournament in Timaru earlier this season and with Southland singles winner Jo Toogood, and runner-up Kerry Williams in a rich vein of form should be expected.

There is plenty of talent in the squad with experience of past intercentres from Maree Jones, Lynda Milne and Carmel Stewart to the debutants Kerry Heffer and Jane Reid. Their section will be very competitive with North Harbour, Central Otago and Bay of Plenty being the likely challengers.

All seven players selected for the men’s squad have had experience at this level, so there should be nothing that will surprise the Southland team, especially after finishing third at the last intercentre played in Auckland.

Singles player Craig Merrilees has a record second-to-none at this event and again will lead from the front. New Zealand representative Sheldon Bagrie-Howley will be partnered with Elliot Mason in the pair and along with the fours team of Shane Elliott, Bryan Harvey, Steve Sanders and newly crowned Southland singles winner Craig Tinker, the side is well matched on and off the green. Southland has been drawn in the section of death with past winners Taranaki and Auckland as well as South Otago, Northland and West Coast.

Southland women’s singles team: Jo Toogood. Pairs: Lynda Milne, Kerry Williams. Fours: Maree Jones, Kerry Heffer, Jane Reid, Carmel Stewart.

Southland men’s singles team: Craig Merrilees. Pairs: Sheldon Bagrie-Howley, Elliot Mason. Fours: Shane Elliott, Bryan Harvey, Steve Sanders, Craig Tinker.