Nigel Birkbeck has now assumed the elite competitive
mantle for the Wakari Bowling Club that used to sit on the
shoulders of club stalwart Dennis Leeden, who died suddenly in
Leeden had made his mark in PBA events and won six Bowls
Dunedin titles. He also did a lot of work around the club.
''It was a big loss for our club,'' Birkbeck said.
''He gave a lot to the club in time and physical effort.''
Birkbeck (48), the owner of BJB Securities, is now the player
the club relies on to give it prestige in centre events.
He did that this week when he and Kieran Fleury won the open
pairs title when they beat Grant Stumbles and Dylan Edwards
(Forbury Park) 18-13 at the Kaikorai green. It was Fleury's
It was the second centre title for the Wakari club since the
death of Leeden early this year.
Leeden skipped the Wakari four that won the open fours last
January but collapsed and died a few weeks later.
The bowlers found the green difficult to play accurate draw
bowls and both teams conceded big early points.
Birkbeck gained a five on the early ends but conceded a four
and the game was poised at 12-12 after 14 of the 18 ends.
The Wakari combination took control of the game when it
scored on five of the last six ends.
''We got closer to the jack at the end when they had two bad
ends,'' he said.
Fleury dominated the lead bowls on each head with his
accurate draw bowls.
Birkbeck will return to his roots on the Coromandel Peninsula
when he has a holiday at the beach with his family.
He had his first roll-up on the local green with his
grandfather when he was a 9-year-old.
Birkbeck started serious bowls as a 15-year-old when he was a
pupil at Otago Boys' High School.
But he has one more task to achieve before going on holiday.
He wants to help the Wakari team win the division 1 Dunedin
inter-club sevens at the Taieri greens on Sunday and qualify
for the regional finals.
The Wakari team is Nathan Yates (singles); Kieran Fleury,
Nigel Birkbeck (pairs); Bryan Williamson, Stephen Hughes, Ray
Anderson, Peter Barron (fours).
Wakari plays Andersons Bay in the semifinals and Forbury Park
faces North East Valley in the other semifinal.
Draw for the men's division 2 at North East
Taieri v Outram, St Clair v Andersons Bay,
Outram 2 v Port Chalmers, Caversham v Fairfield.
Women's division 1 draw at Balmacewen: St
Clair v Green Island, Fairfield v North East Valley.
Women's division 2 draw at Fairfield: Taieri v
Logan Park-Business Women, Tainui v Andersons Bay.