The Point Chevalier Pirates have earned themselves a night off and a place in the final of the inaugural Bowls3Five televised league.
The Pirates have beaten the Gore Rams 4-1, 8-4 on the final night of round-robin play at the New Lynn Bowling Club to secure top spot in the six-team competition.
The first set was befitting of a top of the table match-up with just one shot separating the two sides on each of the five ends. Fortunately for Pt Chev four went in their favour; largely thanks to fine drawing play from the Pirates’ number two Alex Reed.
Caleb Hope and Sheldon Bagrie-Howley helped the Rams take a 2-0 lead in the second set, before Pt Chev skip Aiden Takarua stepped up to help the Pirates take charge.
Takarua delivered a near perfect final bowl on the second end to secure Pt Chev two shots on their power play and give them a 4-2 lead.
The Pirates then picked up two shots on the third and fourth ends, with Reed and Takarua again to the fore, to wrap up the match and top spot.
“I felt a little bit less pressure because we made the top three yesterday so we were more enjoying this game and whatever happened, happened,” Takarua said.
The Gore Rams will now face the Stoke Thunder on Tuesday night (November 27), with the winner to face Pt Chev in the Bowls3Five title decider the following evening.
The Thunder have finished round-robin in second, three points behind the Pirates and three ahead of the Rams after accounting for the Stokes Valley Vipers 5-3, 3-5 (1-0) in a high-quality match.
Kirsten Edwards, Peter Hodson and Shannon McIlroy all had moments of magic in the first set, with Hodson looking more comfortable as Stoke’s number two, to help the Thunder take the upper hand.
But Stokes Valley hung tough in the second set with Vipers skip Lisa White to the fore.
White produced an inch-perfect draw with the final bowl of the fifth end, when the Thunder were holding three shots, to win the set and force a tie-breaker.
She had another opportunity in the tie-break end but this time wasn’t able to get the better of McIlroy.
“It was important for us to put on a good performance tonight just to get us going for next week,” Shannon McIlroy said.
“It was good to get down to a tie-breaker, to get into a nitty, gritty situation [as] you might need that next week.”
In the first match of the night, a new-look Royal Oak Rockets denied the Woodend Jets their first win of the competition.
With their top three hopes over, the Rockets fielded a completely revamped side with David Akaruru (lead), Gale Ward and Grant Goodwin (skip) all making their first appearances.
The Jets settled the better of the two sides and led 4-2 in the first set before Ward delivered a telling bowl on the Rockets’ power play end to secure a draw.
Jenny Anderson shone for Woodend, setting up the head for the Jets and helping them to a 3-0 lead in the second set.
Woodend then took its power play and held two shots before Goodwin delivered with Royal Oak’s final bowl of the end to snatch two shots for the Rockets.
It was the turning point of the match as Royal Oak then took charge and the Jets saw their chances of a maiden win evaporate.
“It’s just good to get a run tonight and they all played well,” Goodwin said.
The Royal Oak Rockets will square off against the Stokes Valley Vipers on Tuesday night, with the loser to face the Woodend Jets for Bowls3Five survival.
There’s everything to play for at both ends of the competition.
Day 10 results
Royal Oak Rockets bt Woodend Jets 4-4, 6-3
Pt Chev Pirates bt Gore Rams 4-1, 8-4
Stoke Thunder bt Stokes Valley Vipers 5-3, 3-5 (Stoke won the tie-break end 1-0)
Final standings after round-robin
Pt Chev Pirates 24
Stoke Thunder 21
Gore Rams 18
Royal Oak Rockets 15
Stokes Valley Vipers 12
Woodend Jets 0