Tight finishes in qualifying for Port Natal Open and Veteran Masters bowls

WINNERS of the Umhlanga Classic (from left), Susan Nel, Doreen Salmond, Nicky Stirzaker and Linda Didlick. Photo: SUPPLIED

WINNERS of the Umhlanga Classic (from left), Susan Nel, Doreen Salmond, Nicky Stirzaker and Linda Didlick. Photo: SUPPLIED

Published Jun 20, 2024



PUT 40 qualifying masters on greens and challenge them to deliver their best bowls to earn a spot in the Port Natal Open and Veteran Masters championship, and you’re guaranteed some close games that go down to the wire.

The 16 Veteran Qualifying Masters at Hillary Bowling Club and the 24 Open contenders at Westville Country Club provided spectators with numerous reasons to hold their breath, as many games were decided with both bowlers taking to the mat on 20-20.

Congratulations to the veterans who have made it through to the Masters Championship at Amanzimtoti Bowling Club this weekend.

Section winners were Ian Oehley (Hillary), Gerard Dennis (Wentworth), Rodney Ward (Westville BC) and Dave Riley (Umhlali CC).

Second in their section qualifiers were Ian Beswick and Lynton Harrison (both Hillcrest), Bryan Rae (Parkhill), and Alec Nel (Amanzimtoti).

The Open section winners were Norman Jones (Umhlanga), John Robertson (Hillcrest), Matthew Mayo (Westville BC) and Gerdus Beukes (Hillary).

They will be joined by Keegan Bauristhene (Stella Park), Lionel van Niekerk and Roger Boulle (both Westville BC), and Chad Wilson (Durban Wanderers).

The format for both the veteran and open championships this weekend will be two sections of eight playing round robin games.

On Sunday, the section winners will play for gold and silver, while runners-up will play for bronze.

Additionally, this weekend, Westville Bowling Club will host the women’s open and veteran qualifying masters, who will vie for places in the respective PNB Masters Championships.

Singles competitors are reminded that their markers must be appropriately attired to be recognised as officials on the green.

Last weekend, the annual Umhlanga Classic Ladies Fours Tournament, hosted by Umhlanga Bowling Club, saw 28 teams compete for a share of the R50 000 sponsored prize money.

Travelling from as far afield as Gauteng, the women enjoyed the superb hospitality that Umhlanga BC consistently provides.

Susan Nel, who skipped Doreen Salmond, Linda Didlick and Nicky Stirzaker to the top spot on the podium and the R20 000 prize money, praised Umhlanga for their excellent tournament.

“The greens were fast and true, and the organisation of the games, meals and entertainment was perfectly executed,” explained Nel.

She thanked the main sponsor, Ian Morris from Holborn Assets, who made this exceptional experience possible and emphasised the importance of sponsorship, stating that it is vital for the financial sustainability, development, visibility and the future success of lawn bowls.

The second-placed team, taking home R10 000, comprised Heather Wright, Debbie de Kock, Heather Perling and Jenny Robinson.

Plate winners of R6 000 were Michelle Gerber, Linda van Niekerk, Brenda van Niekerk and Jaylene Fagan.

As we gear up for another thrilling weekend of bowls, it’s clear that the spirit of competition and camaraderie continues to flourish in the Port Natal bowls community.

Whether you’re a veteran or an open contender, every game promises to be a display of skill, strategy and sportsmanship.

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