𝗪𝗔𝗜𝗞𝗔𝗧𝗢 𝗕𝗥𝗘𝗔𝗞 𝟭𝟲-𝗬𝗘𝗔𝗥 𝗗𝗥𝗢𝗨𝗚𝗛𝗧 𝗧𝗢 𝗖𝗟𝗔𝗜𝗠 𝗪𝗘𝗟𝗖𝗛 𝗧𝗥𝗢𝗣𝗛𝗬
Waikato’s dominant record in the Welch Trophy across the 1980’s and 1990’s is often still marveled at today; however, it has been 16 long years since they last won in 2006. Despite having competed a further seven times since, it was this weekend at the postponed 2021 event they were able to proudly lift the Welch Trophy once again.
The home floor advantage proved to be a contributing factor, and a clean sweep of singles set up a 27.5 point round on Friday night to put Waikato in front. Auckland were just five points behind them in second place.
Saturday morning was a different story. Waikato had two losses in the fours and just one win and a draw in the singles before a stronger finish in the pairs. The 12 point session saw them drop back into third, while Auckland took the top spot and Ashburton climbed to second. That lead was short lived though. Waikato rebounded with two determined sessions, adding 24 and then 28 points to their score – 30 of those points were in singles alone.
Ashburton were their nearest rivals heading into the final session on Sunday morning, 15 points behind the hometown leaders on 91.5. Waikato managed to string together two fours wins for the first time, and Ashburton missed both, so the lead was extended to 23 points. Hutt Valley’s win and a draw in the fours put them back in the hunt, but five wins and a draw for Waikato in the singles created an unassailable lead.
The pairs were played to decide who won the Edgar Trophy for Player of the Tournament, and it was Hutt Valley’s Marcus Trlin with 11 wins and 85.5 ends - a remarkable feat for a skip in this event. Richard Caddy, Waikato, also finished on 11 wins, plus 82 ends.
The Welch is the pinnacle of inter-district representative bowls, and one that greatly motivates the Waikato team. It is the first Welch title for David Archer, Teri Blackbourn, Joy Archer, Matthew Farquhar, and Linda McCurdy; the second for Shaun Blackbourn and Richard Caddy; and the third for Wayne Baker and Alex Reed.
Upon being presented the trophy, Shaun acknowledged George Welch’s daughter, Anne, who was present all weekend, as well as the markers, umpires, supporters, managers, reserves, and Matside, who all play a key role in a weekend like this one.
1st - Waikato - 119.5
2nd - Hutt Valley - 94
3rd - Ashburton - 88
4th - Auckland - 83.5
5th - Southland - 80
6th - North Taranaki - 75