Review of Pairs events across all disciplines
A big day of bowls today with some of the Open Men not leaving the green until 7:30pm. We now have our finalists for the Pairs in the Men’s, Women’s, Bowlers with a Disability & Bowlers with a Bowling Arm whilst also crowning out Junior Pairs champions. It was a big day of bowls at both Rosny Park & Kingborough so let’s have a look at what actually happened.
The Junior Pairs only featured three teams this year due to the success of Lauren Banks & Jorja Maughan and Isaac Maughan (playing with David Minns) in the Open Pairs competitions. I know it’s not ideal that the events clashed but it is great to see our Junior bowlers mix it with their Open counterparts at this level. We will see how they went later on.
This left three teams skipped by Adam Taylor, Blake Sculthorpe & Baylen Jones. Taylor & Sculthorpe met first and it would be the cousins Sculthorpe, with Noah leading that would take the win by 4 shots. This now meant Taylor had to get a decent win in Game 2 over Jones to have a chance at the title. But it would be Jones, playing with Jonty Hayes who would win by 3 shots, setting up a 3rd round game that was now a final (except if it was a draw which would give Sculthorpe the win). The boys played a tremendous final match with either team capable of finishing in front but at the end it would be the Sculthorpe cousins who would finish in front by 2 shots, 11-9 to claim the title. Blake Sculthorpe was pretty happy at the end of the days play, “It was good to go one better than last year, to win with my cousin, the feeling is amazing!”
The finalists for the Women’s Pairs have been decided, let’s have a look at how they got there. The match that I thought would be one of the highest standard was that Candice Hodgetts vs Lyn Triffitt match. Both players are currently State Skips and were keen to atone for Semi Final losses in the Fours. It would be Triffitt that would take the upper hand in the contest winning 18-10. The Sandy Bay affair with Yvonne Buckley & Jacqueline Phillips saw what some may have thought was an upset but Phillips and partner Di Peck have been playing some great bowls and would come out ahead of the Buckley sisters in convincing fashion winning 23-7. The third match saw Dee Harman play Helen Barnes, I thought Harman was a chance of taking this title, but you win the matches on the green, not on paper and it would be Barnes that would prove me wrong with her partner Nadine Seabourne to put another Sandy Bay pairing into the Semi Finals. The score was 19-8. The last match up was Maxine Monson vs Jorja Maughan. We mentioned above that Maughan and partner Banks missed the opportunity to play against the Boys but showed that they are a force to be reckoned with, defeating the State Fours champion Monson 21-5, a fantastic win for the girls.
This left us with Lyn Triffitt vs Jacqueline Phillips & Helen Barnes vs Jorja Maughan. The most one sided game was the Maughan vs Barnes match up. Banks & Maughan were scintillating on the quick Rosny Park greens and never let their opposition have an opportunity to get into the match. They led 21-9 and would end up 27-11 winners. This continues a very strong run of form for both girls. Banks was amazing at the National Champion of Champions and Maughan won player of the series at the recent Tasmania vs Victoria series. These girls are a red hot chance to win this state title. Their opponents will be the defending champion in Lyn Triffitt. The game against Phillips was much closer than the other Semi Final with Phillips only 2 shots down after 10 ends. But Triffitt would start to pull away in the remainder of the match. The end result would be 18-12. What a great storyline for either winner! Triffitt with the chance to defend her title with a new Pairs partner and the two juniors out to take the Open title. It should be a cracking encounter!
Three games for the Men today. I’ll just lightly touch on the first round of games, the Round of 16. (Unfortunately I don’t have scores for these games). Luke Richardson had Taelyn Male on the ropes before dropping a 7 and watching his lead disappear. Richardson fought back to recover from this hiccup to win. Lee Schraner was at his best against David Genford who could never get close enough to threaten the number one ranked player in the country. Connor Munnings defeated Robert McMullen by 1 shot with scores tied going into the last end & McMullen killing the final end once before Munnings could prevail. David Minns would also only win by 1 shot, dropping a 1 on the final end to the favoured Tim Douce. Gene Ayton was able to account for the super skip in Rick Ormerod who has removed any doubt from those observers who feel his success as a skip has been a fluke. Peter Bannister & Sam Springer had a close encounter with Springer dragiing the jack on the last end but then had to watch Bannister disturb the head and go through. Lachie Sims wasn’t happy with how he & Josh Walker-Davis played but they did enough to get over the State Fours runners up in Matthew Jackson & Daniel Baker. In the last match, we found out John Sutcliffe’s mystery partner was actually skipping in the new Howrah recruit of Bill Butler. However, they couldn’t do enough to get past the always impressive Cameron Tegg. This left us with Richardson vs Schraner, Munnings vs Minns, Ayton vs Bannister & Sims vs Tegg.
Lee Scharner and partner Josh Appleyard had things seemingly under control against Mick Sweeney & Luke Richardson, leading 10-6 on 7. But things turned with a 5 to Richardson on the 8th end. Schraner got stuck on 10 with Richardson extending the lead to 17-10 with 3 ends to go, a margin that Schraner could not come back from. Paul Williamson & Connor Munnings faced up to Isaac Maughan & David Minns and things were pretty even after 8 ends with Munnings in front by 2. This margin increased to 5 with 3 ends remaining and just as for Schraner, Minns was unable to make adecisive blow. Credit to Isaac Maughan, who as mentioned before missed out on the Junior Pairs but a Quarter Final appearance in the Open Pairs is a great effort and hopefully an incredible learning experience. Ayton was able to get off to a strong start against Bannister, with lead Tristan Bakes playing very well. Bannister had Steve Graf but after 10 ends Ayton led 9-3 and despite winning 3 shots over the next 2 ends, Bannister could never quite get in front of the Bakes/Ayton combination. The last game was Josh Walker-Davis & Lachie Sims vs Steve Clifford & Cameron Tegg. After their rusty 1st game, you wouldn’t expect Sims to get a strong start against Tegg but he did, leading 10-3 after 8 ends and 15-5 after 12. Clifford & Tegg couldn’t pick up the big score required and it would be Sims moving through to the Semi Finals.
The Semi Finals saw an extra 3 ends to be played, with 18 ends between Ayton & Sims plus Richardson & Munnings. We’ll start with Ayton & Sims but both games were very close and played to a strong standard. Sims jumped out of the gates against Ayton leading 14-2 after 8 ends. I’m not sure if the boys became a little complacent but Bakes & Ayton knew they were still a chance. Over the next 3 ends they reduced the margin from 12 to 6 and then in another 3 ends it was down to 3, 15-18 after 14 ends. Another 1 to Ayton and it was definitely game on! Sims would steady to lead by 3 with 2 ends to play but Ayton knew he had last bowl and could still influence the game. Bakes would trail the kitty for 3 but a Sims drive reduced the margin to 1 and it would be Sims by 2 heading into the last end. Both Bakes & Ayton would draw counters on such a crucial end and we would be heading to a 19th end to decide this one! Ayton would kill the first attempt at the 19th end! Sims & Walker-Davis would take the advantage in the end with Sims accidentally putting in a blocker with his last bowl. It was do or die for Ayton, remove the shot bowl (of which he could only see a half of the bowl) with weight or go home. He removed the shot bowl and would now make his way to the final, hoping to improve on his runners up finish in the State Singles last year.
Now to the Richardson and Munnings clash. This one doesn’t feature the great come back of the above game but Munnings would take the early lead of 7-4 on 7 ends. After 11 ends the scores were back to even 11-11 and we were on for a 7 end shoot out. A 3 to Richardson started to tilt the scales towards his pairing for who was favourite but this game would never see a team take too much of an advantage. Richardson would continue to stay in front and at 16-12 with 3 ends remaining Williamson & Munnings would have to work hard to reduce the deficit. Another single to Richardson looked to be enough for them to take the win, they just had to not drop a score and they were home. But Munnings wasn’t done with. They would pick up a 4 on the penultimate end to bring the margin to 2 with one end to play. This end would be played just as the other game finished, so all eyes were on every bowl. Richardson would put in a toucher early and after the first 6 bowls from each team had been played, it was still shot. With Munning’s first bowl from the skips position, he got a toucher but was still down, crucially with three seconds. Richardson put in a short bowl, hoping to get in Munnings’ eye sight. Munnings is more known as a draw bowler but drive he did and with accuracy, plucking out the shot bowl clean leaving himself with three shots and with one bowl to come, holding the game. Richardson elected to play weight with his last bowl but could not remove any of the shot bowls, giving Williamson & Munnings the win, 7 shots in the last 2 ends, a remarkable comeback. This now leaves us with an Ayton vs Munnings final. I don’t think any of the four players have won state titles previously but both combinations will think that they are in with a red hot chance.
Bowlers with a Bowling Arm Pairs
There was 8 teams lining up in 2 sections with each section winner going through to the Final. In section A, the winners in Round 1 were Kevin Bowkett by 14 shots & Peter Thow by 1 shot. Both Bowkett, who was teamed with Jeremy Racken & Thow, teamed with Ian Williams would go on to win their second games, setting up a do or die 3rd round match, with Bowkett having the draw up his sleeve. It was a ripper of a 3rd round match with both teams not allowing the other to pick up many multiple scores at all. Only 17 shots scored in 15 ends, very impressive, but it would be Bowkett who would manage to keep his nose in front, winning by one solitary shot over Thow.
In Section B Kevin Booth and Owen Preston would get the in, Booth by 12 shots & Preston by 4. Just as in Section A, the winners from Round 1 would go on to win in Round 2, this time Booth by 8 & Preston by 3. This meant Round 3 was a mini Semi Final but a draw was good enough for Booth to advance. Booth was playing with Geoff Munro & Preston was playing with Heather Jones but it would be the Brighton duo skipped by Booth that would take a match winning lead over Preston, running away 15-8 winners.
This now sets up a Jeremy Racken & Kevin Bowkett vs Geoff Munro & Kevin Booth final. It should be a great encounter and I look forward to seeing which of the four players will step up to take the final by the horns!
Bowlers with a Disability
11 teams were split into 3 sections with the section winners plus one lucky loser advancing to the Semi Finals, which would also be played on the same day. I’m not sure how many ends were played but surely it wasn’t 4 games of 15 ends, I know I was wrecked after 3 15 end games! In Section 1 it was Brendan Short & Shane Van Riel who get the win in Round 1 by 5 and 17 shots respectively. Round 2 saw Short win again but Van Riel would draw with Daniel Smith. This meant only Short or Van Riel could win the section and it would be unlikely that Smith could advance as a lucky loser. In the last game Van Riel and partner Jeremey Bracken, would win by 3 shots over Short to win the section, leaving Short with 2 wins & +11. In Section 2 there was a bye so James Amos would be the only winner in Round 1 by a convincing 13 shots. A Round 2 draw between Max Amos & Alison Westwood meant that Westwood could not advance & Max Amos would need to beat James Amos. But James Amos and lead Marijke Raine, would not allow that to happen winning 11-4 and claiming the section. 1 win and 1 draw would mean Max Amos would not advance as the lucky loser. Section 3 saw the defending champion, but with a different partner Alan Ryman win by 4 shots and Charles Thomas win by 19 shots. In Round 2, Rob Booth would upset the highly fancied Thomas by 5 shots whilst Ryman would continue on his winning ways by 4 shots. This now meant that Thomas needed to defeat Ryman to take the section, whilst Booth needed a win by 10 shots to finish equal with Short from Section 1. Ryman & Thomas would have a humdinger of a match, ending up a 9-9 draw, enough for Ryman and lead Colleen Fellows to progress and eliminate Thomas. Booth would also win but only by 9 shots, one shot short of forcing a tie break. That means that Brendan & Gina Short would advance as the lucky losers.
The Semi Finals saw Ryman play Van Riel & Amos play Short. I’m sorry but I don’t have scores from the Semi Final matches but I do know that Rymans would defeat Van Riel, giving him the chance to defend his Pairs title, whilst his opposition will be the Shorts as they defeated Amos. This Final will be played with the other Pairs Finals on the morning of the 8th of January.
Wow. What a big day of bowls at both Rosny Park in the Open categories and at Kingborough in all of the other categories. I look forward to seeing all the decided Pairs finals taking place at Rosny Park on the morning of the 8th of January, good luck to all pairings that have made their respective finals!
By David Genford