Petanque: Bridge on song in championship final

Auckland songwriter Bob Bridge hit the right note in Dunedin yesterday when he won his third New Zealand senior doubles petanque title.

Bridge (69) and Auckland secondary schoolteacher Clive Bartleet beat the New Zealand seniors pair of Shirley Selwyn (Wanganui) and Neville Frost (Dunedin) 13-6 in the final at the Forbury Park car park.

It was special for Bartleet (62) because it was his first national title after coming third and second in the last two years.

"I'm so happy," he said. "I've been playing petanque for 14 years and the national title has come at last."

Bridge has been a professional writer of song lyrics for 30 years and has also had three books published.

He has entered the history books of New Zealand petanque as the only player to win the senior (over age 60) doubles title three times. His other wins were in 2009 and 2010.

The Auckland pair took control of the game by scoring two points on each of the last three ends.

Bartleet played his part with accurate pointing that put the pressure on Selwyn and Frost and forced them into mistakes.

Bridge was the shooter and smashed his opponents scoring shots off the piste.

The big upset of the day came in the quarterfinals when the Christchurch team of Tony Wilkinson and Les Clearwater beat defending champions Graeme Morris (Masterton) and Pete Hamilton (Wanganui) 13-2.

But they were beaten in the semifinals when the Dunedin pair of Selwyn and Frost scored three shots on the last two ends to win 13-10.

Bridge and Bartleet beat the Auckland pair of Margaret Maher and Margaret Penny 13-10 in the other semifinal.

The Consolation final was won by John Targett (Christchurch) and Charles Brock (Auckland) who beat Joan Miller and Ralph Priddle (Masterton) 13-10.

The competition for the bottom 16 after the first day was won by the Caversham pair of Maureen Brown and Anne Sinclair.