In doing the Takapuna club and the North Harbour centre proud in the New Zealand’s National Women’s Singles Championship final, Team Henselite’s Selina Goddard took a major step towards being acclaimed as one of New Zealand’s greatest ever women’s bowlers.
Selina beat her Black Jack team-mate, Tayla Bruce 21-20 under the roof at Orewa in a match of sublime quality. Previously Selina had won the singles in 2017, the fours in 2014 and in 2020 and the pairs in 2020.
There were several factors in the latest success which were testimony to not only her considerable skill but also to her temperament and composure under pressure. For one, she had to overcome a formidable opponent, the winner indeed of the World Champion of Champion Singles title late in 2022 and who in this final also played at her optimum best. She, too, who was defending the title she won last year. And there were many stages when it appeared that Selina was at her mercy and on the brink of defeat.
Bruce’s ability at either converting ends in her favour or reducing counts either through aggression or her own accurate draws enabled her to take after 16 ends what seemed a decisive 18-13 lead. But Selina then showed her mettle by picking up seven shots over the next four ends to take a 20-18 lead, and to be then holding the game on the 21st end, only for it to almost slip from her grasp.
Bruce sprung the jack towards two of her wing bowls and then came close to adding what would have been the winner with her last bowl. She then drew a toucher on the 22nd end to herself again hold the game. It was then with the last bowl of an epic game, one of the best ever women’s national finals, Selina entered her name among the game’s legends. Celebrated for her superb drawing, she unleashed on the back hand a perfect drive to remove Tayla’s shot bowl and leave the jack undisturbed.
This win takes Selina to the brink of greatness, earning her, while still in her 20s, her a coveted ‘Gold Star’ for winning five National titles. Selina will represent New Zealand at the World Champion of Champion Singles, scheduled for November this year.
Photos: Selina Goddard
Text with thanks to Bowls North Harbour.
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