This weekend in Upper Hutt will be the 42nd Interisland Test Match between North and South. The island teams were announced back in June, with both sets of selectors opting for a mixture of youth and experience. Six players have been recalled to the side, and a total of 13 players will make their debut.
Marcus Trlin’s established singles record made him a natural choice to take on the North Island men’s singles. He might be new to this spot, but with the 2018 NZ Henselite Singles and 2022 National Singles titles under his belt, something tells us he will feel right at home. The South Island will also be well represented with 2013 NZ Henselite Singles champion, Grant Wilson, at the helm. He makes his third appearance in this discipline.
Adding to the North’s strength is Annelies Baker, who won the reputable Napier Easter Singles in 2019 and was the best performing woman in this year’s National Singles. She will be up against Mat Blacks reserve, Kylie Gould, where three great matches can be expected. Kylie has skipped and won two from three interisland medals in the women’s fours, and now she is excited for the next challenge.
Robert Wilson and Graham Low are popular returnees to the South team and combine in the men’s pairs. Graham has demonstrated spectacular form this year, winning the NZ Mixed Fours, three South Island titles, and a second in the National Pairs. It was Alex Reed who beat him in the final, and so it is only fitting that he was selected as the men’s pairs skip for his ninth appearance. Alex is joined by fellow Waikato teammate, Matthew Farquhar, to make a formidable duo.
Of all the recalled players, no one was happier than Northerner Jess Moffat, who will skip new cap Maria Tough in the women’s pairs. They will face Christine Langley and Kelsey De Koning, who is also on debut.
Kyle Waldron returns to the triples for a third time and is joined off the front by junior sensation Nathan Trowell. They will be skipped by Tim Veale who makes his seventh appearance and is more than ready for this step up in position. Their South Island opponents, Brandon Williams, James Sullivan and Jeremy Markham derive from the same junior era and will have great camaraderie to accompany their great bowls.
Waikato ladies Linda McCurdy, Lesley Monk and Candace Andrew combine to make a strong women’s triple. Candace was a key player in the winning National Triples team this year, and Captain Linda has built an impressive record over her stellar bowls career. They look forward to teaming up with Lesley who is a welcome addition to the North team. Otago’s Keri Te Tamaki will be staunch opposition, bringing ample experience as she steps into skip of the women’s triple. Hannah Botting makes her debut at two, while Tracey van Tuel slots in at lead.
Katrina Wealleans sees a promotion to skip this year for the South Island women’s fours, and will be well supported by former Mat Black Lois Randall at three, Jan Low at two, and Rowena MacKenzie off the front. Shelley Jacombs resumes her role in the North Island team, this time as skip of the women’s fours. The bowling community saw firsthand what she is capable of in this position when she won the National Fours this year. Former Mat Black Lisa Gould retains her spot as two, while Bronnie Read and Georgia Fisher come in as three and lead respectively.
North Taranaki’s Ali Wilson has been summoned for the first time following a win in the 2020 NZ Mixed Pairs and the 2021 National Open Pairs. In 2016 he added a Welch Gold Star to his long list of achievements, but above all, he is known for his great sportsmanship. He skips a recalled Jason Parker and new caps Wayne Tough and Matthew Foster. South Island Captain, Hayden Warnes, is the opposing skip, and has had a successful bowls career stemming from an early age. He is highly respected both on and off the mat, and will be a great men’s fours skip to his young team of Nicholas Sinclair, Matthew Heads and Mathew Bassett.
Once again, the two sides are evenly matched and will produce a great battle, so if you are searching for something to watch now that the Commonwealth Games are over, this is it! Will the South take over the Kevin Eddy Memorial Trophy? Or will the North extend their winning streak another year?