The Trusts New Zealand Open
08 Feb 2018
The Trusts New Zealand Open gets underway this Saturday at clubs across Auckland (click here for draws and venues) as players look for a slice of the $40,000 prize pool.
First up is qualifying in the Ryman Healthcare Men's Pairs and The Trusts Women's Singles. This is followed on Sunday with the Men's Singles and Women's Pairs and finally on Monday the Hunter Bowls Men's and Women's Triples. Main draw action gets underway on Tuesday with the televised finals scheduled for Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th February at Blockhouse Bay Bowls,
Jamie Hill and Chris Le Lievre are back to defend their Ryman Healthcare Men's Pairs title, with a further 63 qualifying spots up for grabs. Young guns Aiden Takarua and Alex Reed will be looking to continue their good form of late having just won back to back junior titles at Bridge Park and Milford events in the past two weeks. Other strong contenders look to be Royal Oak's Mike Galloway and Martin Dixon; Petar Sain and Rob Ashton (Carlton Cornwall); Scott Evans and Scott Mouton (Browns Bay) as well as a host of players coming from out of Auckland including from Wellington Ray Martin and Richard Corry.
The Men's Pairs has drawn the biggest field of all the disciplines with 144 teams (288 players) but is also one of the easier to qualify for, with 27 extra teams to be found on top of the 36 section winners.
The Trusts Women's Singles field has 84 players looking for one of 31 qualifying positions to join defending champion Elaine McClintock (Browns Bay) in the main draw. With many very strong sections all games will be important as the section winners plus the next best 10 players will qualify. New Zealand age group representative Ashleigh Jeffcoat, flying the Carlton Cornwall colours, faces Christine Buchanan (Queenstown); Sheila Putu (St Heliers) and Carol Neeley (Kamo) in one of the sections to watch. Margaret O'Connor (Queenstown) is the early favourite with the TAB.
Likewise the Men's Singles will also be hard to call. Defending Champion Richard Girvan is unable to make the trip across the ditch this year so a new champion will be crowned with Girvan having won the title for the past two events. Chris Le Lievre is making the trip over and he will be looking to go one better than last year's loss to Girvan in the final. He has been installed as the early favourite by the TAB along with Petar Sain.
The Ryman Healthcare Women's Pairs has a number of former winners back for another tilt at the title. Anne Bateman, Aggie Motu, Kirsty Hill, Margaret O'Connor, Christine Buchanan, Lauren Mills and Caroline Downs have all tasted victory before. They will be keen to add to their title haul as will defending champions Marilyn McLeod and Elaine McClintock.
The Hunter Bowls Men's and Women's Triples conclude qualifying on Monday. In contrast to the Men's Pairs, the Women's Triples is arguably the hardest event to qualify for with just 3 extra sides to qualify on top of the 12 section winners. With a reasonably small field there are no weak teams and all games loom as potential knockout games. Players are vying for one of 15 qualifying spots to join defending champions Margaret O'Connor, Christine Buchanan and Anne Dorreen in the last 16.
Tony Grantham joins the defending champion side of Scott Evans and Scott Mouton in the Hunter Bowls Men's Triples with Rory Soden unavailable. A further 92 combinations will contest qualifying, all looking to gain one of the 31 available positions.
A disappointing number of entries was received for the Disabled Triples this year which forced the cancellation of this event. The Disabled Pairs will however go ahead with play beginning on Wednesday. For the first time the final will be played on the TV rink. This is scheduled for 2pm on Friday 16th February. New Zealand Commonwealth Games representative David Stallard headlines the field.
This year players had the opportunity to pick from one of three zones where they could be drawn for the qualifying stage. This was in response to the challenges competitors faced in dealing with Auckland's traffic issues. Whilst the zones were still reasonable big it eliminated the chance of a player having to drive right across to the other side of the city.
Sky TV will have live coverage of the finals starting at 9.30am on Saturday 17th February.
For more information and full list of draws and results CLICK HERE.