Bowls: So what if she gets home late - she's a winner

Lead Christine Buchanan (Queenstown)  delivers a bowl during the final of the Dunedin Classic...
Lead Christine Buchanan (Queenstown) delivers a bowl during the final of the Dunedin Classic Pairs at the North East Valley green yesterday as rival lead Malia Tavite (Forbury Park) looks on. Buchanan teamed up with Rae Hammond (Auckland) to beat...

It was worth it. Rae Hammond missed her flight back to Auckland last evening and stayed in Dunedin to win the prestigious Dunedin Classic Pairs.

She switched to an early-morning flight and will still get back home in time to play in an Auckland centre championship today.

''I'll go in the morning,'' Hammond said.

''It was more important to stay behind and play in the final.''

Hammond and lead Christine Buchanan (Queenstown) beat Malia Tavite (Forbury Park) and Mata Frankum (Waimate) 16-10 in the final of the fourth annual classic pairs on the North East Valley green.

''I was meant to play last year but I broke my arm two weeks before,'' Hammond, a retired manufacturing manager, said.

''I will be back next year.''

Pairs is a lead's game and Hammond praised the efforts of Buchanan, who shared the winner's purse of $2000 for the second year in a row.

Buchanan has won 15 Central Otago titles and two New Zealand open events in just seven years of bowls.

She put her stamp on the game from the start with her accurate lead bowls.

She got the better of Tavite and gave her team the advantage with the lead bowl on nine of the 14 ends played.

On the first end, she draped her three bowls around the jack to give her team a flying start.

She had three touchers on the first three ends as her team raced to a 9-2 lead after just six ends.

She put the game out of reach for her opponents by repeating her first-end dose by drawing three scoring bowls around the jack on the 13th end to stretch the lead to 16-8.

Buchanan felt more comfortable playing away from the clubhouse with the wind behind her.

''I can judge it better with the wind behind me,'' she said.

''It was easier going away than punching into the wind.''

A mistake by Hammond on the seventh end allowed Tavite and Frankum to get back into the game.

Buchanan had the shot but the aggressive Hammond knocked it out and gave it to her opponents.

She added to their score when she pushed her opponent's bowl in for the second shot with her next bowl.

Frankum added the third shot with her last bowl and the gap was reduced to four shots.

''I was far too loose and was struggling with the wind and the amount of green I had to take,'' Hammond said.

But she made up for the mishap with her last bowl on the next end when she trailed the jack into the ditch when Frankum had two shots on the head.

Hammond played another critical shot on the 12th end when she pushed out Frankum's shot bowl to stretch the lead to 13-8.

The jovial Frankum, who has won 25 South Canterbury titles, kept the pressure on Buchanan and Hammond by scoring points from her bounce shots.

She did this on the 10th end by turning her bowl off her opponents' bowls to score a point.

''I got one shot but I wanted more than that to keep us in the game,'' Frankum said.

Tavite and Frankum squeaked into the final by beating Pam Walker (Taieri) and Kay Hammond (North East Valley) 13-12 on the umpire's measure on the extra end in the semifinal.

The plate final was won by Jenny Dyhrberg (Taieri) and Wynette McLachlan (South Otago), who beat Liz Tomlins (Invercargill) and Tanya Wheeler (Wellington) 13-3.

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