Auckland Indoor Bowls representatives have won the 66th Welch Trophy, the symbol of supremacy in New Zealand Indoor Bowls at the Waikato Indoor Bowls Centre Hall, Duncan Road, Hamilton at the weekend.
Final Standings were Auckland 107.5; North Taranaki 102; Tauranga 91.5; Upper Hutt Valley 85.5; Southland 80; Canterbury 73.5.
Auckland hasn’t won this prestigious trophy for a decade so the victory was very sweet and greeted with great jubilation. Auckland has won the Welch Trophy seven times since its inception in 1951 in 1963, 1964, 1975, 1982, 1984, 1992 and 2007. Three of the players who won in 2007 Paul Wright and Rodney Mills as well as Patrick Morrison who was the reserve that year were in the team.
The winning team was Steve Fisher, Paul Wright, Rodney Mills, Neil Gash, Simon Poppleton, Alex Reed, Patrick Morrison and Colin Williams. The reserve was Sam Bryant and the Manager Carol Wright.
North Taranaki has dominated the competition recently winning in 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2016 and were the defending champions but had to settle for second place this time.
The tournament was played over five sessions of fours, singles and pairs with four points awarded for a win in the fours, three points for a win in the pairs and two points for a win in the singles.
Auckland had the upper hand in the fours winning seven of their ten games overall to earn 28 points while North Taranaki could only manage 50% to earn 20 points. Southland scored well in the fours earning 26 points, Tauranga 18, Upper Hutt Valley 16 and Canterbury 12.
In the final round of singles North Taranaki closed the gap on Auckland by winning six games to Auckland’s four. Overall North Taranaki was superior in the singles earning 31.5 points overall followed by Auckland and Tauranga with 27 points, Upper Hutt 25, Canterbury 19.5 and Southland 13.5.
In the pairs both Auckland and North Taranaki scored one win and a draw for Auckland to clinch the victory.
The top player of the tournament was North Taranaki’s Paul Midgley and he won the Edgar Family Trophy which was awarded for the first time.