Danny Delany & Joe Whitelaw were in the final of the Taranaki Fours in a composite team. Game reporting and image courtesy of Grant Hassall, Taranaki Times.
The 112th TSB Bank Taranaki open fours again produced the biggest men’s field this season in New Zealand, with an excellent sprinkling of bowlers from around New Zealand, plus nine teams from Australia in the week-long event.
Dan Delany, a four-time winner, and Joe Whitelaw, a two-time champion, waved the Carlton-Cornwall flag proudly during the week-long tournament. Dan skipped the side, with Joe at third, Norman Scott-Morrison at two and Mike Nasey leading.
Despite an opening round loss, Dan’s side comfortably qualified by winning their next five games. The weather unfortunately started to turn on Thursday, which meant only seven of the scheduled eight section play games could be completed. 49 teams made it through.
In Friday’s post section, the side easily beat 1987 NZ pair’s winner Peter Clark (Tauranga South), before edging Mark Anderson (Alton). That put the team into the last 16.
Ian Coombe (Mairangi Bay) was the next victim, but there were troubled times in the quarterfinals against Paul Bartosh (Stadium). It was only later in the game, when the rain arrived, that the game swung towards Dan’s team. They prevailed by a single shot.
That put the team into the semi-finals against the great Peter Belliss, who had a fortnight earlier skipped a team to the NZ fours title in New Plymouth. He had a useful Aramoho quartet this time, including former NZ rep Keith Slight. Strong blustery winds and occasional showers greeted the teams.
But what no-one expected was the score. After seven of the 25 ends, Dan’s team led 17-0. A few ends later it was 22-4. This was like a dream. But the morning tea break changed things, with Peter’s team climbing back into the match. A four on the penultimate head reduced Dan’s lead to just 25-23.
Peter drew the third shot on the last end, but thankfully Dan turned up one of his team’s bowls to reduce the count to one, and to claim the match 25-24.
That put the side into the final against Ces Bell, of Taradale. The opening stanzas were even – the score being locked at 9-all after 10 ends. However, it was Bell’s time, with his side deservedly pulling away thereafter to win 27-15.