• Takapuna bowler Selina Goddard (left) and partner Katelyn Inch with their trophy. They won the pairs title at the bowls nationals held recently in Christchurch.

Takapuna bowler wins national title

North Harbour Bowls with Lindsay Knight

Selina Goddard’s move across the Harbour Bridge in the past year or so has proved a major boon for the North Harbour centre in general and the Takapuna club in particular.

Goddard, a petite 25-year-old who only joined Takapuna this season, has provided the 108-year old club at long last with arguably its first national title for either gender.

In Christchurch she partnered the Gold Coast-based Cantabrian Katelyn Inch to the pairs title with a win in the final over Tayla Bruce and Clare Hendra. Inch, who is a year younger than Goddard, then won the singles title, too, from the great Jo Edwards, to further belie the myth that bowls is a game only for the aged.

Selina’s form at the nationals has earned her a place in the Black Jacks side for this month’s Transtasman test series on the Gold Coast. Giving Takapuna a rare double is that she will join the club’s other illustrious recruit in 2019, Wendy Jensen, in the national team. Jensen also did well at the nationals finishing third equal in the singles and making the last 16 in the pairs.

Selina’s feat has to carry the “arguably” qualification for Takapuna as in 2005 Steve Posa won the national men’s pairs title with another Waikato representative, Kevin Robinson. But while playing officially as a Takapuna member Posa never played bowls of any sort at the club. Before he could come to Takapuna he was injured and when he had recovered an intended transfer to Auckland did not eventuate. Instead he resumed playing in Hamilton.

Adding to Selina’s success was the victory of Graham Skellern, in his second year with the club, in the inaugural B5-B8 singles final. Having gained many honours in able-bodied bowls in centres like Auckland and Bay of Plenty, he has now put himself in line to became a national parajack.

The Posa interlude apart, until Goddard’s and Skellern’s triumphs, Takapuna members had experienced a frustrating run of near-misses at national championships.

Owen Smith, Takapuna’s foremost homegrown bowls product, came close in 1981 when he entered the last day of singles, when the two-life system was being used, with both his lives intact. But he lost narrowly to Peter Belliss, the eventual winner, and then to the only other remaining one-lifer, Ian Dickinson.

Then in 1987, when only a year or two out of junior ranks, George Fabling and Tony Marinkovich, were beaten in the pairs final.

In 2005 Rowan Brassey lost the singles final when after leading 20-8 he was pipped 21-20 by Counties’ Dwayne Cameron. Brassey was then a dual member of Takapuna and Auckland’s Avondale and played that event in the latter’s colours.

And last year Anne Dorreen was lead in what was a composite four of South Island players which lost the national final in Wellington.

Selina, who started bowls as a 14-year old at the Howick club and until recent years was a member of Auckland’s Carlton-Cornwall club, now has a complete set of national titles having been lead in the winning composite four in 2014 and the singles champion in 2017.

She has also been in two other finals as well as winning a bronze medal at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games.

Skellern’s title was the only success of the small number of Harbour male  bowlers who were at Christchurch. But Skellern, Daymon Pierson (Birkenhead), Tony Grantham (Browns Bay) and Bart Robertson (Helensville) made singles post-section play.

Issue 106 February 2020