Vipers finally on the board

The Stokes Valley Vipers have belatedly opened their account in Bowls3Five.

The much-fancied Stokes Valley trio of Seamus Curtin, Lisa White and Blake Signal have outclassed the winless Woodend Jets 11-0, 10-2 in the final match of week two action at the New Lynn Bowling Club in Auckland.

The Vipers were much improved from last week’s showings, with White looking more comfortable as the number two, as Curtin switched to the lead.

The Jets too made a change to their line-up, following a supposed leadership coup, with Alex ‘Grizz’ Wyllie replacing Na Katae as skip.

The change had little impact as Stokes Valley took command, picking up three shots on the first end, another couple on the second and four on the third to take control of the set.

The Vipers then collected a maximum six shots on the opening end of the second set to all but wrap up the match and their first win from four attempts.

“I feel a little sorry for the Jets. I think they got us in a bit of a bad mood,” Signal said.

“We’ve lost games [and] we’re pretty unhappy with that start, and it was good we were able to play a good one there.”

The Point Chevalier Pirates denied Stokes Valley in the opening match of the night, edging the Vipers on a tie-break end.

Sudden-death was needed to separate the two sides after the sets were split 4-1, 1-9.

The Pirates took out the first set largely thanks to an impressive showing from their lead Angela Temple.

It was then all Stokes Valley in the second set, with Pt Chev only picking up one shot on the final dead rubber end.

The Vipers appeared to have control of the tie-breaker until Alex Reed produced a telling drive to set up the head for Pirates skip Aiden Takarua.

Less than 24 hours after edging former New Zealand rep Mike Galloway, Takarua this time got the better of current Blackjack Blake Signal to secure Pt Chev its third win.

“Lucky it comes down to one end and you always have a chance,” Takarua said.

“Alex set it up perfect for me so all credit to him.”

The Pirates are now equal second on points with the Stoke Thunder, three behind the Gore Rams, who remain unbeaten two weeks into the inaugural six week televised league.

The Rams beat the Royal Oak Rockets 6-6, 9-3 in the second match of the night, producing another clinical performance.

Gore picked up four shots on the opening end and held five on the second, but left the door open for Rockets skip Mike Galloway who snatched three for Royal Oak with an impressive drive.

The Rockets then held tough and drew the set by picking up a shot on the final end, when they took their power play.

The Rams raced out to a match-winning 8-0 lead in the second set, after picking up three shots on the second end and two on the third, when they took their power play.

Gore skip Sheldon Bagrie-Howley and his Rams team-mates took a lot of pleasure in proving SKY Sport commentator Gary Lawson wrong, after the 13-time national champion tipped Royal Oak to win.

“It’s always the pinnacle of your bowls career when you manage to prove Gary wrong,” Bagrie-Howley said.

“We were expecting it to be quite close, especially with Mike playing on here quite a bit, but we just had to stick to what we’re doing because it’s working,”

The Gore Rams will have the night off when the competition resumes next Tuesday (November 6), with the Stokes Valley Vipers to play twice.

Day 4 results
Point Chevalier Pirates bt Stokes Valley Vipers 4-1, 1-9 (Pt Chev won the tie-breaker end 1-0)
Gore Rams bt Royal Oak Rockets 6-6, 9-3
Stokes Valley Vipers bt Woodend Jets 11-0, 10-2

Standings after four nights*
Gore Rams                   12
Stoke Thunder              9
Pt Chev Pirates             9
Royal Oak Rockets       3
Stokes Valley Vipers    3
Woodend Jets              0

*the standings have been amended after the wrong points scoring system was used last week