Waihopai bowlers have silver success

Home team: Stoked with their runner-up placing at the Women’s Champion of Champions Triples are (from left) Jean Stratford (skip), Evelyn Ussher (second) and Robyn Hall (lead).

FOR Waihopai Bowling Club members Jean Stratford, Evelyn Ussher and Robyn Hall, winning a silver medal at the Women’s Champion of Champions Triples came as a pleasant surprise.

The competitions were held in Naenae in Lower Hutt on July 15-16.

To qualify for the championships, the group had to win their club’s triples, and then triumph in the competition against teams from other clubs in Southland, before they were then invited to compete at the Bowls New Zealand Champions of Champions.

At the tournament, each team played four games and had to win three to qualify for the finals.

‘‘We were really proud and excited with our achievements,’’ Ussher said.

‘‘It was a real honour to represent the club and Southland, and it was the first time we had all played in the championships.’’

The key to their success was remaining calm and taking the game as it came, Stratford said.

‘‘I think we were quite relaxed and we took each game as it came, and we kept the pressure off.’’

After finding out they had achieved second place the group did not have time to celebrate and instead hopped in a plane to head back to Invercargill.

However, they celebrated their winnings with a dinner this week, they said.

They were grateful for the support they had received from people throughout Southland, their family members and their bowling club.

It was nice to get the honour of a medal for the Waihopai Bowling Club, especially since the club will celebrate its centennial next year, Ussher said.

The centennial will be celebrated next year on March 25 and 26 and plans for the weekend were under way.

‘‘It’s a really good milestone in history and it’s a lovely club and everyone is quite proud of it,’’ Ussher said.

Club members were putting together a small booklet with the club history and discussions were being made about holding a dinner on the Saturday night and cutting a ceremonial cake.

They were trying to get in contact with alumni club members to come and join the celebrations, Ussher said.

‘‘We have about 140 members in the lawn bowl clubs and we would like to encourage past members to come along too,’’ Ussher said.