Bowls: Wins keep coming for Birkbeck

Composite team skip Nigel Birkbeck delivers a bowl as Andersons Bay skip Evan Roberts looks on...
Composite team skip Nigel Birkbeck delivers a bowl as Andersons Bay skip Evan Roberts looks on during the Kaikorai Festival Fours final at the Kaikorai Bowling club yesterday. Photo by Craig Baxter.
Nigel Birkbeck's magic month continued yesterday when he skipped the winning team in the annual Kaikorai Festival Fours.

The Composite team of Bobby Johnson, John Cross, Regan Larkin and Birkbeck comfortably beat the Andersons Bay combination of Kerry Roberts, Graeme Cocks, Jocko Susilo and Evan Roberts 22-12 in the final on the Kaikorai green.

Birkbeck (48), the owner of BJB Securities, won his eighth Bowls Dunedin title in the pairs early last month and before Christmas played a key role in helping the Wakari club win the Dunedin Interclub Sevens final.

Birkbeck used his aggressive style to upset the rhythm of the Andersons Bay teamOn the fifth end he drew the bonus shot to give his team three points and the lead 7-2.

Two ends later he drove the jack into the ditch to take two shots when down two on the head.

It was part of a purple patch when Birkbeck's team scored 11 points from the fifth to the eighth ends to take a commanding 15-2 lead. The eighth end was the break point when the Composite team drew five shots.

I attacked a few times and got the jack into the ditch at other times,'' Birkbeck said.

When you take the shots off them when they are holding it can break them.''

Birkbeck was brought into the team to replace Ken Walker who is playing in the New Zealand championships at New Plymouth.

The other three team members had reached the final of the Festival Fours for the third year. They finished runner-up in 2011 and last year.

The game came close to the shake hands'' time when Birkbeck's four added a three and two on the 11th and 12th ends to lead 20-5.

Lead Johnson was running hot for the first 12 ends and got the better of his opponent. Larkin put his bowls in the way when the Andersons' Bay team had bowls close to the jack.

But a game of bowls can produce ironic twists and this happened on the 13th end when the Composite team had two shots on the head.

Cross put too much weight on his toucher and the jack squirted sideways and Andersons Bay collected four shots to come back into the game.

They added three more on the next end to produce some worried looks in Birkbeck's team.

Cross redeemed himself on the 15th end when he drew a toucher and it remained the shot.

In the semifinals Birkbeck beat Gary Clegg (Mornington) 17-2 and Andersons Bay beat Dave Budge (Kaikorai) 16-14.

The strong Composite team of Steve Fleming, Steve Wilson, Rodney Fleming and Mike Kernaghan had a comfortable 14-2 win over Dan O'Leary, Peter Wilson, Mike Cranston and Graeme Allan's Composite four in the plate final.


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