Garner wins 17th title

Ross Garner proved he can still match the best younger players by winning his 17th Otago title at the weekend.

Garner (55), an administration manager, beat international Daniel French (32) 11-10 in the final of the champion of champions singles at the Dunedin Indoor Bowls Centre.

``The last time I beat Daniel in singles I was the best bowler in the centre,'' Garner said.

``Daniel is at the top today so it was special to beat him in a final.''

Over the past eight years, Garner and French have shared the Otago Indoor Bowler of the Year Trophy. French has won it for the past four years.

Garner won his first centre title in the open singles in 1992.

The win at the weekend was special because it was watched by his 87-year-old mother, Moira Garner, who was attending the annual Otago life members' luncheon.

``Mum was in the Mornington team when we won the open fours in 1993. It was my second title.''

Garner made a bold start against his Green Island club opponent and led 5-1 after five ends and 7-2 after seven of the 12 ends.

``I got two lucky slides on the early ends when Daniel had shots around the head.''

The talented French, who made his international debut in Sydney this year, fought back by scoring five shots from the eighth to 10th ends to draw level at 7-7.

Garner used his vast experience to shut French out by playing strategically to gain an extra shot on the final end.

French won his 24th centre title when Green Island beat the Hillhead team of Blair Cowan, Rex Moss, June Pickles and Gaynor Moss 10-8 in the champion of champions fours final.

It was the 14th Otago title for Brent Sinclair, seventh for Nick Sinclair and second for Nigel McLennan who won his first title in 1980.

Lyn Rance won her third title of the season and the 22nd of her career when she beat Tracey van Tuel 11-10 by scoring a four on a dramatic last end.

Rance (73) led 7-4 after nine ends but let van Tuel back into the game by going for the jugular with her final bowl on the 10th end when van Tuel held one shot on the head.

She conceded three shots and the scores were level at 7-7. She dropped two shots two ends later when she pushed the jack off the mat. Van Tuel had a three-point lead before the extra end.

``I had no option because the rules state that an extra end must be played if the end is killed. I couldn't have caught Tracey any other way.''

Rance needed three shots on the extra end to force another end and four to win the game. The pressure got to van Tuel and she took out two of her own bowls with her last bowl.

It gave Rance a target and her weighted shot pushed out van Tuel's shot bowl and left her with four shots and the title.


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