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Pro Pairs crown to Whiteman, Wright

THE top contenders were quick off the mark when 20 teams contested the Women's Pro Pairs at Gisborne Bowling Club at the weekend.

Three teams — Kahutia Bowling Club's Glenys Whiteman and Marie Wright, Gisborne's Queenie Takurua and Dayvinia Mills, and cousins Mere Nepia (Napier) and Jasmine Merrick (Kawerau) — had hit only one speed-bump in the first six rounds and were locked in a battle for overall honours going into the seventh and final round of the Bronwyn Kay-sponsored event on Sunday.

But all three got the last-round wobbles.

Takurua and Nepia were felled and Gisborne-East Coast bowling doyen Whiteman and Wright had to dig deep to grab a two-point, last-end win against Gisborne's Tanya Harrison and Dianne Phillips.

Six wins from seven rounds was enough to secure the section win, overall honours and the major share of the $2000 prize pool.

The wheels fell off for Takurua and Mills and they slipped to third place in Section 1 after going down by 14 points to clubmates Carol Hawes and Ginny Sherriff, who had barely managed to get out of second gear all weekend.

In Section 2, Nepia and Merrick were down four points to Poverty Bay's Marion Jones and Kathryn Flaugere at the final bell in one of the weekend's boilovers but the visitors did just enough to hang on to top spot in the section with 15 game points and 53 ends won.

Hot on their tail in second and the only other team to leave Nepia and Merrick eating dust during the weekend were juniors Karen Pinn and Holli Elkington, also with 15 game points but three ends adrift on 50.

It was a stunning effort. Pinn is only a second-year bowler and Elkington has been playing a mere nine months.

Four wins earned Te Karaka's Del Tamanui and Wairoa's Donna Smith third spot in Section 2.

Flying under the radar all tournament until they stalled Whiteman and Wright with a three-point win in Round 6, Te Karaka's Diane Murray and Erica Thompson had five wins and a draw in the seven rounds to finish second in Section 1 and second overall.

Murray is still a junior and Thompson a new bowler.

The tournament is in its fourth year and features two forms of pairs bowls, with bowlers alternating between the traditional three-bowl pairs and the always-popular 2-4-2 format.

It's a challenge the bowlers have embraced.

CELEBRATIONS: Bowling doyen Glenys Whiteman (right) and Marie Wright are congratulated by Gisborne Bowling Club life member Arthur Hawes after winning the Women's Pro Pairs on Sunday. Picture by Beverly Davy
SPOILERS: Both Karen Pinn (left) and Marion Jones put the brakes on Mere Nepia and Jasmine Merrick's chances of overall honours in the Women's Pro Pairs at the weekend. Picture by Beverly Davy