Bowls: Determined Tavite holds nerve to win cliffhanger

Malia Tavite (Forbury Park) held her nerve to win a cliff-hanger singles title yesterday.

Tavite won her fourth Bowls Dunedin title when she beat Rachael McDowall (Andersons Bay) 21-20 in the open singles final on the Green Island green.

McDowall had control of the game early and was playing with confidence to lead 8-4 after seven ends.

Tavite, who played for Tonga in the Pacific Games in 2007, was tentative at this stage and let her opponent take control.

The eighth end was the turning point for Tavite. She was one down on the head and ran the jack into the ditch to take the point.

The confidence came back into Tavite's game after this and she gained another point on the next end when she nudged in for the shot off McDowall's shot bowl.

Tavite played aggressively for the rest of the game and put the pressure back on McDowall.

But she was still behind on the scoreboard when McDowall led 12-6 after 11 ends.

''Even when I was down I still felt confident,'' Tavite said.

''I was determined to win.''

Tavite gained a second shot on the umpire's measure on the 12 end. She had control of the jack and threw a long end.

She put her four bowls around the head and McDowall was too loose and conceded four shots and the scores were level at 12-12.

But McDowall kept fighting back and tested Tavite's nerve. After 16 ends McDowall led 16-13.

A decisive part of the game came from the 17th to the 20th end when Tavite added six shots from four ends to lead 19-16.

Tavite had two shots on the head to win the game on the 21st end when McDowall drove the jack into the ditch with her last bowl to stay alive.

''I was a wee bit worried,'' Tavite admitted.

''I sat down on the seat and calmed myself down. I only had two shots to get and if I put the bowls close I would get there.''

But it was not that easy because McDowall kept hanging close and after 24 ends it was 20-20.

''On the final end I had to make sure I put a bowl behind the jack,'' Tavite said.

''I knew it would be hard for her to get it off. I also put in a back bowl in case she drove.''

In the semifinals McDowall beat Carolyn West (Forbury Park) 21-13 and Tavite beat Shona Mann (North East Valley) 21-14.

The Fairfield team of Robbie Thomson, John Cross, Murray Wilson and skip Blair Barringer won the men's open fours when they beat Bruce Walker, Dave Hodges, Louis Boock and Malcolm Wilson (Taieri) 12-8 at the Kaikorai green.

It was the first Bowls Dunedin title for Cross, the second for Wilson, the eighth for Barringer and the 13th for Thomson.

It was special for Barringer who equalled the 30-year-old record of Kaikorai's Stewart McConnell, who made the final of three of Bowls Dunedin's four open events.

Barringer won the triples and fours and was runner-up in the singles.

Bowls Dunedin

Women's open singles: Malia Tavite (Forbury Park) 21, Rachael McDowall (Andersons Bay) 20.

Men's open fours: Robbie Thomson, John Cross, Murray Wilson, Blair Barringer (Fairfield) 12, Bruce Walker, Dave Hodges, Louis Boock, Malcolm Wilson (Taieri) 8.

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