The Richmond Bowling Club signed-off a successful season when it collected four Champion of Champion titles at the Bowls Nelson prizegiving at Saxton Pavilion earlier this month.
Richmond dominated the singles finals with Jean McKenzie winning the junior women’s title and Helen White taking out the women’s final. Jean also combined with Lyn McCausland to win the junior pairs while the fourth title went to the club’s veteran pair of Colin Delaney and Rex Lankshear.
It was the first time in over a decade that Richmond has won both the women’s singles titles although Helen she very nearly blew it in her rain-delayed final against Motueka’s Moana Cross.
“We played four ends of the final and I was down 4-0 when it got rained-off. It got to 12-0 down when we started playing the rest of the final two weeks later so it wasn’t looking good. But I just forgot about the score and started concentrating on my bowls and came back into it. It was the first to 21 and I ended up winning 21-20.”
Interestingly, Helen won the Champion of Champion junior singles in her first year of bowling in 1992.
In contrast to Helen, Jean cruised through her junior final against Pauline Sutherland of Riwaka winning 21-16 after establishing an 18-8 lead.
She has only been playing three years but has made rapid progress in the game after playing indoor bowls for 20 years.
“The basics are the same so it’s given me a good start,” Jean says. “But I’ve had to learn about the wind and how it affects the bowl and I’ve had to adjust the lengths and weight of the bowls.”
Jean and Helen also narrowly missed out on another Champion of Champion title when they joined forces with Monica Kennedy and Wendy Nossmann to reach the fours final. Rex and Colin beat Maitai’s Lex Birkett and Brian Carey 14-9 in their veteran’s pairs final. “It’s been a good season for the club,” Helen says. “Let’s hope we can keep it up.”