Tauranga clubmates Sue Hodges and Steve Hughes, both Bay of Plenty representatives, went one better in the centre mixed open pairs championship held at the Mount Maunganui club over Labour Weekend.
After reaching the semi-finals last season, they powered into the final and won the title, beating John O’Brien and Raewyn Willis 14-11 in a closely-fought match.
Hodges and Hughes were in impressive form, heading off the Papamoa husband and wife combination, Gary and Lynne Bodger, 15-13 in the last 16; then beating David Eades and Julie Kerry 20-6 in the quarter-finals after picking up two fives; and overcoming fellow clubmates Cliff Webber and Angela Stephen in the semi-finals.
Hodges, who moved to Tauranga from Dunedin, has quickly gathered 11 Bay of Plenty titles, including the women’s open fours three times in a row between 2017 and 2019. Hughes is getting closer to his Gold Star with four centre titles.
The new combination of O’Brien and Willis put in a fine performance. Both have recently joined the Mount Maunganui club – in Willis’ case through the closure of Omanu – and they didn’t waste any time making an impression.
They beat Ben Thurston and June Smith in the quarter-finals 15-9 and then Eric Patillo and Barbara Kimber in the semi-finals. The experienced Willis, a long-time Bay representative, showed she has lost none of her touch after missing a couple of seasons through injury.
The defending champions Mary Campbell and Dan Dickison, winners of this event three times in the past four seasons, were well beaten in the last 16 by a strong drawing duo Webber and Stephen 17-7.
The results were:
Last 16: Eric Patillo/Barbara Kimber (Tauranga South) bt Kelly Alefaio/Anthony Ouellet (Tauranga South) 14-12; Debbie White/Paul Casey jnr (Hinuera) bt Deryck Scott/Linda Walker (Omokoroa) 21-5; John O’Brien/Raewyn Willis (Mount Maunganui) bt Lillie McGregor/Doug Russell (Composite) 12-11; Ben Thurston/June Smith (Tauranga) bt Bill Murphy/Annette Hawkins (Omokoroa) 14-9;Steve Hughes/Sue Hodges (Tauranga) bt Gary and Lynne Bodger (Papamoa) 15-13;David Eades (Tauranga)/Julie Kerry (Ngongotaha) bt Lance and Carolyn Tasker (Tauranga) 13-10; Dave Jones/Wendy Green (Taupo) bt Steve Beel/Pauline Bowler(Mount) 13-4; Cliff Webber/Angela Stephen (Tauranga) bt Mary Campbell/DanDickison (Tauranga) 17-7.
Quarter-finals: Patillo bt White 19-14; O’Brien bt Thurstom 15-9; Hughes bt Eades 20-6; Webber bt Jones 16-7. Semi-finals: O’Brien bt Patillo; Hughes bt Webber. Final: Hughes bt O’Brien 14-11.