Pairs & Singles winners crowned, championships come to a close
The State Championships Gala Week came to a close at Rosny Park Bowls Club with the conclusion of all remaining Pairs & Singles events. There were some great bowls by all players but let’s delve in to each discipline and see what happened.
Bowlers with a Disability Pairs
There was controversy over night as it looked like Rick Ormerod may need to fill in for an unwell Gina Short. Would Ormerod substitute in and make it difficult for Alan Ryman, the player he won the Pairs with last year? He wasn’t required with Gina Short able to play with Brendan Short, to take on Ryman and lead Colleen Fellows. This was a great game. Some ends went shot for shot, especially between Ryman & B Short, the advantage for skips having 3 bowls was obvious. The crowd was very entertained and supportive of the players with neither team able to get an advantage early. A crucial end would see Short pick up 3 shots, giving him a lead of 4, the biggest of the match. Short held the lead but with 3 ends to go Ryman played 3 beautiful bowls to pick up a 4 and bring the scores close together. In fact with 1 end to go, scores were level but it would be Ryman who would get the shot, giving Fellows & Ryman the title and making it back to back for Ryman (who needs Ormerod!)
Bowlers with a Bowling Arm Pairs
Another close game between Geoff Munro & Kevin Bowkett. Munro was playing with fellow Brighton player Kevin Booth, whilst Bowkett from Rosny Park teamed up with Invermay’s Jeremy Bracken. This discipline played the more traditional cross over pairs and all players showed a high level of skill when using their bowling arm. Neither team could take a decent lead and this one was decided on the penultimate end. Bowkett found himself one shot in front and took great joy when Bracken trailed the jack to hold three shots. Bowkett would add one more and Munro couldn’t reduce, a pick up if 4 shots meant that Munro needed 5 shots on the last end to force an extra end. Munro & Booth were unable to do so and it would be Bracken & Bowkett that would take the title.
Open Women’s Pairs
This was a tremendous game. Lauren Banks & Jorja Maughan, who are both eligible to still play Juniors taking on Jenny Tirant & Lyn Triffitt, two very experienced State players. Banks & Maughan showed that they weren’t daunted by the task in front of them when they took an early lead, picking up a 6 in the first two ends and leading 6-1, what a dream start! Tirant & Triffitt knuckled down and got the score back to 6-5 and from then on the score was always close. I was very impressed by some of the bowls from Maughan in the skips position. 2 or 3 down and drawing the shot on a number of occasions. Banks was putting bowls in the head and both Tirant & Triffitt were playing well, it really was a great game. Triffitt started to get her nose in front with a lead of 14-12 after 13 ends then picking up 3 over the next two ends to lead by 5 with 3 ends to play. Maughan picked up a single before the penultimate end shifted momentum to the Banks Maughan rink as they picked up a 3. Only one shot would separate the teams with an end to go. Tirant was able to get the shot early and bowl after bowl could not quite alter the head. Banks went very close and Maughan was just wide with her last bowl to give Tirant & Triffitt the title. This was Tirant’s first Tasmanian title to go with a Victorian Pairs title, whilst Triffitt made it back to back pairs after winning with Amelia Bruggy in 2018. After the game I caught up with Tirant, mainly because Triffitt had to get ready for her singles game, “It was awesome to get the win! I love my state and I’m so very proud. Lyn as skip just controlled what we needed to do. Just wanted to put the bowl where she wanted and excecuted very well. I was especially very happy on that last end to get the shot for my skip. The girls played really well and should be very proud of their efforts.”
Open Men’s Pairs
Four players keen to make their break through. Tristan Bakes & Gene Ayton would take on Paul Williamson & Connor Munnings. Munnings would have the home ground advantage but Ayton is a previous Premiership winner at Rosny Park, with Munnings, so knew what to expect from the conditions. Bakes & Ayton got off to a dream start, leading 7-0 after 7 ends but as in the Women’s competition, Munnings was able to stem the bleeding and got the score back to 7-7. At 9 all on 9, it looked like we had another game that was not going to see one team get a big lead. Ayton had other ideas. Munnings would be stuck on 9, whilst Ayton continued to win ends, increasing his lead to 16-9. Munnings would win the next few ends but at 16-12 with 3 ends to go, there wasn’t a lot of time to reel in the margin. 17-13 would be the score with one end to go, Williamson & Munnings would have to lift to get the 4 shots required. Munnings would hold 2 shots and keep them until the skips crossed. Not only that, but he would add 2 more shots giving him the 4 he needs to force an extra end. It would come down to Ayton’s last bowl. His plan was to disturb the head and that he did, giving him the title and the long awaited first State Championship. Ayton has been on the scene for a long time and has made many Semi Finals, but last year’s singles final was his first final. This win gives him a 50% record in finals, not a bad effort! After the game Ayton was maintaining his cool, “It’s going to take a while to sink in. My first title and it’s taken 33 years to break the duck after losing a dozen or so semi-finals over the years. Last end they piled the pressure on but when i put mine about foot behind I was a lot happier because if Connor was slightly over, the kitty would pop. He played the right shot and was unlucky not to force the extra end”. It would also be Bakes’ first state title, what a great performance by both players.
That was it for the Pairs. For most players the success or commiserations could start, but not for Lyn Triffitt who had another Final to play. Now on to the Singles
Isaac Maughan would go into this game as the heavy favourite taking on Lucas Howell, both players from the Buckingham Bowls Club. Maughan has been skipping for Buckingham but Howell had nothing to lose and was keen to show the watching crowd he could match it with Maughan. In the first few ends Howell was on top, he led 5-2 and had Maughan realising this wasn’t going to be easy. A 3 on the 6th end to Maughan turned the tide, equalled the game and Maughan hardly looked back. After being 5-6 down he would win the next 7 ends and take the title 21-6, it was over in a flash and demonstrated why Maughan is so highly thought of as a Junior.
Bowlers with a Bowling Arm Singles
I felt bad for Peter Thow & Kevan Godfrey as they had won through to the Final of the singles but got no write up yesterday as I hadn’t received their results. They had both had to win through their section and a Semi Final, a tough day of bowls just to make it this far! Thow who 3 years ago made the Semi Final of the Open Pairs, was the favourite for this match but favourites don’t always win! A 4 on the first end to Thow gave him the upper hand but not even he would have expected what would happen next. Despite losing a 2 on the next end, Thow would win 5 ends in a row, 4 of which were multiples and led 17-2 in a race to 21. It was an impressive performance by Thow who would now find it very difficult to lose this game. Godfrey would win 3 of the next 4 ends to reduce the score to 7-18 but Thow would pick up a 3 and the Final would be over in 12 ends. A short lived final but a performance of the highest standard. After the game I asked Thow about he was able to pick up the nuances of the green so quickly “I was very happy with my game. I guess the speed of the green was a lot like you get in the winter on the tiff dwarf greens on the sunshine coast which I usually play well on. Also, as you would be well aware, one must take particular note of how the green is playing in the roll up, which I think I did.”
Bowlers with a Disability Singles – Womens
This game was between Alison Westwood & Marijke Raine. Westwood took a big lead early, picking up a 4 and 4 scores of 2 to take a 12-1 lead after 6 ends. Westwood would net let Raine pick up a multiple score until the 10th end but by then the score was 16-4. Raine would need to pick up her game if she was to put a dent into Westeood’s lead. A 3 on the 13th end to Raine reduced the margin to 11 but Westwood was simply bowling too well and consecutive 3’s took her score from 19 to 25 and the game was over. Westwood was brilliant in her bowling and was simply too strong for Raine.
Bowlers with a Disability Singles – Mens
Rick Ormerod was trying to win his 3rd title in 4 years. His opponent would be Robert Booth. Oremrod had done very well in the Open Pairs & Fours and was in good form to take this title. The game started off slowly but Ormerdo kicked into gear on the 6th end, picking up a 4 and moving to a 9-3 lead. Booth would continue to pick up ends but Ormerod would only allow him to get 1, valuing 2nd shot and would pick up some multiple scores of his own. Another 2 on the 15th end moved Ormerod to a 17-7 lead, a lead that would never be threatened. Ormerod maintained his lead and would end up winning 21-10, his third title was his. After the game Ormerod was delighted in his win, “I’m so rapped! I had a point to prove to myself and I did it. Every year this event has got harder making this title mean so much more. The final dragged right out to 20 ends a very intense game and I’m very happy to bring a title back to my new club at Dover RSL!”
Open Women’s Singles
Could Lyn Triffitt defend her singles title after only that morning defending her Pairs title? Could Amity Booth show everyone that she is still a player to reckon with, a victory here could put her name back into the eyes of the sectors for regional and state teams? It would be Triffitt to take the early lead. 7-0 would have been exactly what Triffitt ask for but after that she only extended her lead to 12-1 after only 6 ends. Booth needed to pick up scores quickly and two 2’s over three end reduced the margin to 9. But that would be as close as Booth would come to Triffitt. Ends were being traded but when Booth would pick up 1, Triffitt would pick up 2 and after the 10th end, whoever had last bowl would win the end. Triffitt would take the title, winning 25-10, a dream scenario where she had defended both titles and now had a chance to defend her silver medal at the Nationals Championships. Triffitt was kind enough to speak to me after her second game of the day and I asked her about what it was like to defend both titles, “It feels very different with a new player in pairs and different competitors in the singles, I feel so humbled in being able to win back to back pairs and back to back in singles as well! This year I made the semi-finals in the fours which I didn’t do last year, so having had to play for 7 days straight made this achievement even harder. The Pairs game was a great game which the two young ones pushed us all the way and they need to be commended for their achievement. They are the future of bowls in Tasmania. I have worked really hard this year to be able to achieve what I have and hard work does pay off.”
Open Men’s Singles
The storylines from this event focused on Robert McMullen having the chance to win his second Singles title and would Josh Appleyard win his maiden singles title? Both players had earlier won the State Fours, so someone was guaranteed two state titles in a week. Appleyard didn’t appear to let the situation overcome him as he would be the one to get off to the best start. 7-2 after 7 ends and things were looking good. But McMullen started to gain some momentum, winning the next 5 ends and taking a 5 shot lead, 12-7. After losing 4 multiples to McMullen, Appleyard fought back with two multiples of his own in 3 ends, reducing the margin back to one. This final was living up to its billing as the blue ribband event. The next 9 ends would see 8 singles and a 2, such was the consistency of both players in tough conditions. Neither could gain a decisive blow to pull away. However, of those 9 ends, Appleyard would win the last 5, slowly creating a margin, leading 19-16. McMullen reduced the margin back to 1 but Appleyard played two wonderful ends picking up consecutive 3’s and before he knew it, the game was over and he was the champion! Only 4 days earlier, Appleyard was nowhere to be seen for his 1st Round match, a 9am start and at 9:15, still not at the venue. But then he would arrive, no roll up, won the first end and would then go on to win it all! Chris Norris, Lee Schraner, David Genford, Luke Richardson, Steve Graf, Michael Sweeney & Robert McMullen, these were quality opponents from start to finish and Appleyard came through all games with flying colours. As you can imagine, Appleyard was ecstatic after the win, “I’m absolutely over the moon! I just took every game as it came didn’t take any game for granted. I gave it my best and came through!” In regards to his late start to Round 1 and maybe some lessons learned from that experience, “I think from now on I’m gonna (sic) be a lot more organised!”
Well, there you have it. 7 days of bowls, new champions crowned and some returning to the top of the dais. A big thank you has to go out to all the volunteers that made this week possible. We had umpires giving up their time, Match Managers remaining at venues until after 7pm tonight, kitchen hands working tirelessly to keep everyone fed, bar staff ensuring players and spectators didn’t suffer dehydration as well as the green keepers and ground staff who prepared the greens to play on. I’m sorry if I’ve left any role out, but everyone who contributed made it a success. And to the bowlers who competed and produced some high quality bowls for the spectators that came down to watch, well done and thank you for all your efforts to try and win either your match or the state title.
So until next year, when we will have another gala week of bowls to look forward to, it’s David Genford signing off from the State Championships!
By David Genford