Dunedin players of the year crowned

Nigel Birkbeck (Kaikorai) in action during the final of the men’s champion of champions triples...
Nigel Birkbeck (Kaikorai) in action during the final of the men’s champion of champions triples at the Kaikorai Bowling Club recently. PHOTO: WAYNE PARSONS
Nigel Birkbeck (Kaikorai) and Judy Robertson (Taieri) capped off great seasons when they each won Bowls Dunedin Bowler of the Year awards at the annual awards last night.

Judy Robertson
Judy Robertson
Accumulating 12 points in a close contest, Birkbeck, a Dunedin locksmith and businessman, now joins a select number of local bowlers to have won the Stan Seear Trophy for male bowler of the year on more than one occasion.

He first won the award as a member of the Wakari Club in 2012.

After transferring to Kaikorai in 2015, Birkbeck has been an integral member of that club’s winning formula in pairs, triples and fours. As skip, he wears his heart on his sleeve, with an eye for detail and ability to aid the play of his fellow team members.

Now with 12 centre titles to his credit, Birkbeck featured in most tournaments throughout the season, skipping the Kaikorai champion of champion triples team to the title, while finishing runner-up in the champion of champion pairs with Jonty Horwell and skipping his club team to finish third-equal in the 2x4x2 mixed pairs and open fours.

Such was the competitive nature of the 2020-21 season, Birkbeck narrowly held out three of the region’s most promising bowlers for the award, with Kaikorai club mate Jonty Horwell, Keanu Darby (North East Valley) and Brent McEwan (St Clair), all accumulating 11 points.

Like Birkbeck, Robertson headed off some very talented female bowlers to win the Millie Khan Memorial Women’s Bowler of the Year trophy.

Accumulating 22 points, Robertson narrowly pipped Sarah Scott (North East Valley), who finished on 21 points.

Robertson joined Taieri in 2009, since winning 11 centre titles. Three of these titles she gained throughout the recent season, winning 2x4x2 pairs, open pairs and champion of champion triples titles and finishing third-equal in the champion of champion pairs.

Bowls Dunedin awards

May Valentine Trophy (most improved senior player): Ruth Williams (Andersons Bay).

Emerging player of the year: Andrew Maffey (Roslyn).

Team of the year: National champion of champion women’s fours: Taieri.

George Payton Memorial (for club with best average ranking in all men’s events): Leith.

Jean Shelton Trophy (for club with best average ranking in all women’s events): North East Valley.

Patrons Trophy for club with best average ranking in all men’s and women’s events: Karitane.

Club of the year: Brighton.

Greenkeeper of the year: Neil McDonald (St Kilda). 

Bowls Dunedin Centre titles (bars to gold star): Lyn Rance (Green Island) 26 (5 added during season), Judy Robertson (Taieri) 11, Geoff Purdon (Wakari) 10, Malia Tavite (Forbury Park) 10.

Bowls Dunedin Gold Star (5 titles): Paul King (Andersons Bay).

Male player: Nigel Birkbeck.

Female player: Judy Robertson.

- By Wayne Parsons

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