Hooper and Davis unbeaten
Poverty Bay Bowling Club’s Dave Hooper became the third identity well known in local rugby circles — along with Ray Young and Peter Clay — to win a junior centre champion of champions title this season when he skipped Joy Davis to victory in the junior mixed pairs event over the weekend.
It was Hooper’s third junior centre champion of champions title.
Now in his early 80s, Hooper had an outstanding rugby career, representing the East Coast union 71 times in his playing career.
He played for the combined Poverty Bay and East Coast side against the touring 1959 British Lions side and the 1965 Springboks, retired from the playing side in 1966, and then turned his hand to refereeing the next year through to 1988. His most memorable games were the eight internationals and 48 first-class matches he refereed.
Davis, in her last season as a junior, showed the valuable experience she had gained from playing in senior open events over the past few seasons, and provided a solid platform for her skip over the two days of competition.
Hooper and Davis remained unbeaten with their two lives intact, combining well in all their games, especially against Te Karaka pair Willy and Diane Murray, whom they ended up beating twice.
The Poverty Bay pair were only really tested in their last encounter, a possible final against Tolaga Bay’s Bessie Eyles and Ben Elkington. Hooper and Davis got home by a point, 16-15
Adam McIlroy and Sarah Brown, of Te Karaka, also had a memorable weekend when they won the centre senior champion of champions mixed pairs.
However, things didn’t start well for the pair, as they had to default their first game and this left them with only one life for the rest of the competition.
The Te Karaka pair met strong opposition from Poverty Bay’s Ian and Kathy Carroll in their first game and only gained the advantage over the last few ends, winning 25-16 after the Carrolls were only 15-14 behind after 14 ends had been completed.
In the next round, McIlroy and Brown got home 22-14 against Tolaga Bay’s Jo Atkins and Anton Tashkoff, which earned them a bye on Sunday morning.
Gisborne’s Arthur and Carol Hawes started well and retained their two lives, beating Tolaga Bay 18-15 in the first round and then Wairoa’s Glenda Kapene and Graham Fitzpatrick 17-10 on Saturday and again 17-14 in the rematch on Sunday morning.
Te Karaka now had to beat the Hawes combination twice to take the title.
McIlroy and Brown lifted their game and were now both playing well, winning comfortably 21-7 and taking a life off the Gisborne pair.
Now in a sudden death situation, the second game was expected to be much closer but in an outstanding display, Te Karaka turned on one of the best performances of the season in a centre tournament to win by 23 shots to 2.
Brown played great lead bowls and skip McIlroy was superb with a performance that his younger brother, dual world singles champion Shannon McIlroy, would have been hard pressed to match.
This win gave Adam his 11th centre title and Sarah her 13th. On that form, both players should do well in the forthcoming centre 2-4-2 mixed pairs this month.