Gore wins national title

Top team. . . Gore Bowling Club interclub seven’s team members (from left) manager Clare Hendra, Craig Merrilees, Tony Cockerill, Elliot Mason, Nick Buttar, Sheldon Bagrie-Howley, Thomas Cockerill, Craig Tinker are congratulated for winning the national title by Bowls NZ president Anne Wright. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

Gore Bowling Club’s golden run continues with its sevens team picking up a national title at the weekend.
The team comprising singles player Sheldon Bagrie-Howley, pairs Craig Merrilees and Craig Tinker and fours Tony Cockerill, Thomas Cockerill, Nick Buttar and Elliot Mason beat Stoke Bowling Club in the final of the Bowls New Zealand Interclub Men’s Sevens tournament.
It is the first time the club has won the interclub sevens and went through the tournament unbeaten.

Last week club member Bagrie-Howley, who won the national singles title earlier in the year, was also named in the Blackjacks World Championships team.

The Gore team had a convincing win in the final with the fours not finishing its 15 ends because a result had already been achieved, Tony Cockerill said.
‘‘Singles and the pairs had big wins and the fours stopped after 10 [ends] because the other two had such big victories.
 ‘‘We didn’t have to carry on,’’ he said.

It was ‘‘pretty big’’ for the club, he said.

‘‘It gets your name bandied around the whole country.

‘‘People start to realise where Gore is.’’

Bagrie-Howley said winning the Southland event and qualifying for the tournament was good but winning the national title was great.
 ‘‘It’s one of the better ones to win.’’
 He believed it was also the first time a Southland team had won the title.
 Competing as part of a team where members played three different forms of the game made the event more interesting.
  ‘‘You just can’t rely on one person.

‘‘You’ve got to win two out of three at least.’’

The best players in the country took part in the tournament, he said.

‘‘All the New Zealand rep players were there.’’

The 28-year-old was part of a 14-strong Blackjacks squad which played in the Multi-Nations Tournament on the Gold Coast last month.

New Zealand played teams from South Africa, Ireland, Malaysia, Norfolk Island, Hong Kong and Australia. He finished with a silver in the fours event.

He liked his chances of making the Blackjacks team for the World Championships on the Gold Coast after the multi-nations tournament.

He had been named as skip or the captain of the triples and fours teams for the championships which started in August. ‘‘It’s pretty cool.

‘‘It’s quite a big role.’’

At national level he preferred to play singles but competing internationally ‘‘was a whole different kettle of fish’’.
‘‘I’m just happy to be in the team.’’
The world champion of champions tournament which he had qualified for after winning the national singles title in January would follow the championships.