All falls into place for Howard and Blakeley

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Oamaru duo Mike Howard and Andy Blakeley have capped their indoor bowls season in the best possible way. They recently won the pairs at the 56th annual Alexandra Blossom Festival tournament, one of the country’s longest-running indoor bowls events that attracts the best bowlers in the South Island. Howard and Blakeley won a tough semifinal 10-8 against the South Otago pair of Eileen and David Grant, before they demolished another South Otago combination – Christine King and Marilyn Paterson – 11-2 in the final to claim the Baden Gilchrist Blossom Festival Pairs Memorial Trophy.
Howard said as far as he was aware, it was the first time a North Otago duo had won the pairs event. However, he said the road to the title was not an easy one, as the pair had to win four knockout games. “The semifinal was quite close. It was 8-8 going into the last end. It was awesome to make the final and we just had a good game. Everything fell into place.” While Howard and Blakeley have played against each other several times, the Oamaru club pair had never teamed up before.
Blakeley said he got a call from Howard when the latter’s original partner couldn’t play – a call he was happy to receive. “It was a good opportunity for me to have a go.
“We didn’t know if we were going to click, but we did,” Blakeley said.
Another Oamaru combination, Rhonda Sinclair and Bede Mallon, finished third equal in the pairs plate.