State Triples Champions Crowned
The State Triples concluded today at the Burnie bowls club. Some top matches took place and two worthy teams were crowned champions. Let’s take a look and see what happened. I’ll start with the Men’s competition as they started the day with 4 quarter final matches.
Lee Schraner was able to jump out to a 13-2 lead after 5 ends and would only lose 2 more end against Scott Summers. At 28-4 and 4 ends remaining, Summers offered a handshake and the game was over. The two Douce brothers were keen to get one over their brother but it would be Greg who would jump to a 8-3 lead. Tim would equal the scores but losing 4 consecutive ends started to give Greg the momentum. In fact after 8-8, there would only be 1 multiple score with Greg able to pick up a lot more singles taking the game 17-11. Joe Simpson & Steve Mundy would both win 3 of the first 6 ends but Simpson would lead 8-4. Mundy was never able to dominate an end whilst Simpson would pick up a further three 3’s and would run away 20-11 winners with the last end not being required. The final match saw Mark Nitz take on Luke Patterson. Nitz had the home ground advantage and led early 7-4 after 6 ends. Nitz would then pick up the next 5 ends to extend his lead to 15-4. Patterson would not give up, winning 5 of the next 6 ends but could not pick up multiple shots except for 1 end. Nitz would finish 17-10 up and through to the Semi Finals.
The Semi Finals would see North West stalwarts Greg Douce and Mark Nitz play each other, whilst Joe Simpson would take on the defending champions in Lee Schraner. Nitz got off to a great start picking up a 4 on the first end but losing a 5 on the 3rd brought him back to earth. Neither team could get more than 3 shots in front of the other and at 12-12 after 13 ends, this was anyone’s game. Douce had won ends 12 & 13 and would go on to win the next 4 ends and lead 19-12 with 4 ends to go. Nitz is never one to give up and used his tactical genius to get his team back into the game with 3 consecutive ends and the margin reduced to 2 heading into the last end. Douce would hold the shot and Nitz tried to kill the end, but the jack stayed in the ditch and Douce would pick up the shot and the berth in the Final. The match between Simpson & Schraner also started off with both teams staying close to each other. Simpson held the early advantage thanks to a 3 on the 4th end and led 7-5 after 8 ends. But the defending champions picked up 8 shots over the next 5 ends and would only lose one more end of the match with Simpson conceding at 9-24 with 3 ends to go. A Schraner vs Greg Douce final would decide the title.
The Final could not have started much better for the Douce team of Phil Mundy & Aaron Jago. They won the first 5 ends to lead 8-0 and would pick up 3 of the next 4 to lead 11-1 after 9. Schraner isn’t the number one ranked player in Australia for no reason, picking up 7 shots over the next 5 ends to reduce the margin to 4 with 7 ends to go. It would have been easy for Douce’s team to wilt under the pressure but you don’t get many chances to win a State Final and Douce would he ensure he would only lose one more end. At 19-9 with 2 ends to go, the game was conceded and Mundy, Jago & Douce would be crowned champions. This would be Douce’s 11th State title, an impressive feat. Mundy now has three titles, but this was only the second final he has won (an illness saw him subbed out of a State Fours win) & Jago’s debut title. After the game Mundy was very happy, “It always feels good to win a state title!” In regards to how well the team played well together “we all did our bit, no stand outs.” And on the final itself “The green was nice we jumped them and it got hard about half way. Then the wind got up and we bowled just a bit better in the conditions.”
The Women’s event started at the Semi Final with Dee Harman playing Bev Huett & Jorja Maughan playing Candice Hodgetts. Huett looked to be in control early leading 7-2 after 5 ends. The 6th end got Harman back into the game, picking up a 5 and levelling the score. Huett would get back in front and lead 10-8 but Harman would pick up three shots on three consecutive ends to lead 17-10. It looked like this lead would be enough to take the game but at 19-13 Huett would win the next 4 ends to trail by 2 going into the last end. But Harman was able to stem the tide, claiming the last end and a 21-17 victory. The Maughan vs Hodgetts match did not play out the same way. Maughan would pick up the first end only to see Hodgetts win the next 5. Maughan would win 3 of the next 5 ends but would never pick up more than one shot. The score was 13-4 after 11 ends and Hodgetts would not lose another end, the score being 29-4 when the game was conceded with 3 ends remaining. Harman & Hodgetts would face off to claim the State Triples title.
A 4 to Hodgetts on the first end was the dream start for her team of Jenny Tirant & Kim Saunders. Harman would win the 3rd end but that would be their only end of the first 6. Hodgetts would lead 9-1 and now just needed to maintain the lead. A 3 to Harman on the 7th end gave them hope but Hodgetts would go 1-1-3-3-1 to lead 18-4 and Hodgett’s first State title was within reach. Harman would go on to win 5 of the last 7 ends but it wasn’t enough, with the scores at 19-9 with two ends remaining, Harman would concede and the title would be Hodgetts.
Hodgetts was over the moon after the match and was kind enough to answer a few questions. The first was simply how does it feel? “It feels amazing to win a state title, as the only title I’ve held before is a junior pairs state title.” Hodgetts always looked comfortable on the scoreboard but how did Hodgetts feel? “We jumped out to an early lead, once they got the jack back and they threw a short length Mary Beaumont was dynamite and put the pressure back on for the next 4 or 5 ends, and it tightened back up. To the girls credit they kept their composure and held on.” Hodgetts was very pleased with the way Tirant & Saunders played “The girls left me with little to do, and bowled really well over the 2 days. We went with the tactic of playing long ends and Jenny started us off and set us up perfectly. Kimmy showed why she has been one of the premier players in the state for the past 10 years giving us consistent bowls over the 2 days and when required I did what I had to!” Hodgetts will also be pleased that Gene Ayton won’t have the ability to claim the only state title in the relationship!
I would like to say a massive thank you to David Gewin for providing me with Scorecards and sectional updates over the last two days. Without these, the articles would be very bland indeed. Thank also to Pauline Shaw for the sectional results of the Women yesterday. Thank you also to Gene Ayton & Tracey Little for providing score updates for those not at the venue.
By David Genford