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Lawson, Nowell a top pair

Jeff Nowell and Michael Lawson combined to win the Ashburton Championship pairs.

In contrasting circumstances, Michael Lawson and Jeff Nowell both achieved something quite special at the Ashburton Indoor Bowls Stadium on Sunday.

Playing in the Championship Pairs, the duo emerged on top of a strong field of 21 entries after an enthralling day of play.

For Nowell, a relative new-comer to the indoor scene with a wealth of outdoor bowls experience, it was his first Ashburton Indoor Bowls Championship title.

Playing lead, he produced consistent bowls throughout the day for Lawson to work with as the pair overcame a loss in qualifying to grab the required three wins to qualify.

While Nowell was notching up his first, Lawson was securing his 35th Ashburton title – giving him his seventh gold star, one each for every five championships.

The most successful bowler in Ashburton’s history, in terms of championships won, Lawson has a clear march now on his nearest rival, Sandra Keith.

After working through the qualifying stage, Lawson and Nowell beat Kevin and Gaylene Smith in the quarter-final before tackling Rod Webb and Jacqueline Ross in the semi-final.

That set them up for a final battle with Ken and Rowena Mackenzie who beat Mark Sheard and Helen Rennie in the quarter-final and then Matt Markham and Mat Bassett in the semi-final.

In a close fought encounter, Lawson and Nowell emerged victorious 11-10.

The plate event, held for non-qualifiers, was won by John Cuthbertson and Peter Guildford.

Meanwhile, the Ashburton Ladies 10s team had a victory to smile about last week when they beat off some strong combinations to claim success in the tournament in Christchurch.

Also, a number of Ashburton players have been selected for the South Island Academy and South Island Masters teams to play against their northern counterparts during the National Championships which will be held in Ashburton next month.

In-form bowler, Chris Talbot will play the ladies singles in the Academy side while Ken Mackenzie will skip the men’s pairs and his wife, Rowena will lead the ladies triples.

In the Masters event, Bernice Laird will lead a strong ladies triples side.

Mark Sheard will skip the men’s pairs while Martin Nordqvist and Graeme Chapman will make up half of the men’s fours team.

The National Championships begin at the EA Networks Centre on Saturday, June 9 and run through the course of the week with more than 1000 bowlers making their way to Ashburton to ply their trade on the mats.

-Ashburton Guardian.

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