New look for front-runners

A top of the table match-up opens week five of the Bowls3Five televised league, but there is an unfamiliar look to the two contestants.

The Elmwood Park Saints sit level at the top of the standings with the Stokes Valley Vipers, who have played an extra game, and will square-off against the third placed Stoke Thunder at the New Lynn Bowling Club in Auckland tomorrow night (Tuesday, November 19).

The Saints however are without Gary Lawson, who’s representing New Zealand at the Multi Nations tournament on the Gold Coast, meaning Elmwood Park need a new skip.

Lance Pascoe has been named to make his Bowls3Five debut for the Saints and will join Bev Morel and Kelvin Scott in their triple.

The Thunder too have named a debutant, with Leigh Griffin to pull on Stoke colours for the first time alongside the returning Shannon McIlroy and Jimmy Pugh.

The match against Elmwood Park is the first of three for the Thunder this week and they have a chance to take the outright competition lead.

The Vipers will only play once this week, on Thursday, having played two more matches than Stoke through the first four weeks.

Alieta Vulu will make her first appearance of the season in the Vipers’ match against the Parajacks, with James-Cameron Powell and Euan Wong to also turn out in a new-look Stokes Valley triple.

It’ll be the Parajacks’ third match of the week after playing Stoke on Wednesday and the Pt Chevalier Pirates earlier on Thursday and shapes as pivotal in their hopes of moving off the bottom of the table.

They sit three points adrift of the Gore Rams, Pirates and Royal Oak Rockets, but have two games in hand over Pt Chevalier and one over Royal Oak.

Pam Walker will make her Bowls3Five debut for the Parajacks, alongside Bruce Wakefield and the ever-present Mark Noble.
Ashleigh Jeffcoat, Caleb Hope and Sheldon Bagrie-Howley will again turn-out for the Gore Rams in their matches against the Thunder and Pirates, who will be represented by their championship-winning triple of Jenny Stockford, Alex Reed and Aiden Takarua.

The fourth-placed Hinuera Heat will make their one and only appearance of week five tomorrow night when they face the Rockets.

Hinuera will field two women in their trio, with Debbie White and Kevin Smith joined by Bev Corbett.

Philly Akaruru has secured another outing for Royal Oak after an entertaining debut last week and will play alongside Martin Dixon and Mike Galloway.

The top three sides are seven weeks of round-robin will contest playoffs to decide the Bowls3Five title, while the bottom three will battle to avoid relegation.

All eight of this week’s games will be broadcast live on Sky Sport 9.

Bowls3Five – week five:

Tuesday, November 19
Stoke Thunder vs Elmwood Park Saints – 7:10pm
Hinuera vs Royal Oak Rockets – 8:15pm

Wednesday, November 20
Parajacks vs Stoke Thunder  – 6pm
Gore Rams vs Stoke Thunder – 7:10pm
Elmwood Park Saints vs Royal Oak Rockets – 8:15pm

Thursday, November 21
Parajacks vs Pt Chevalier Pirates – 6pm
Parajacks vs Stokes Valley Vipers – 7:10pm
Pt Chevalier Pirates vs Gore Rams – 8:15pm