Men’s Championships – Preview
Our State Open Championships kick off tomorrow, and David Genford Previews the Men’s section of the Championships for us…
The 2015 Tasmanian State Championships are almost upon us. In this article I will be focussing on the three Men’s titles that are on the line, the Fours, Pairs & Singles.
With 2015 offering prize money for all players making the final four, players are going to be keen to ensure that they don’t leave the week without something for their efforts.
The week starts with the Fours on the 2nd of January. To see who is the team to beat, you just need to find which team Chris Dudman is playing for and make them the favourites. Dudman has won the last 23 titles in a row (accuracy may be off but I think 6 is correct) and this year sees the same team of Brad Gibson, Rowan Donohue & Simon Zaparozec looking to defend their title.
But who could be the challengers this year? The first name you have to go to in Tassie at the moment is Schraner. Lee teams up with Peter Bannister, Darren Monks & Robert McMullen and you’d have to think that if that front end fires at all, Rowdy & Lee would provide enough good bowls to see them make the final. Last year’s runners up have split with Andrew Appleyard & Peter Zoon joining with Allan Gamble & Aaron Page to be the front runners in Section 3, whilst Josh Appleyard & Freddy McKay have joined with Matt Mitchell & Chris Roach. Chris has been named to skip & will face his Dad in the first match up which could prove very interesting!
The other teams that we could see in post sectional play include State Singles Champion David Genford who teams with Michael Sims, Andrew Whitmore & Pat Hoffman but they will need to overcome the always dangerous Scott Crocker & the in-form Josh Lording. Section 5 looks to have the match of the day when David McLean will take on Daniel Baker but I think the strength of Daniel’s side will get him over the line. The Four Douce’s will be favourites to take out section 7 whilst Section 8 is wide open.
The second day of the championships will see the Pairs take place over a very impressive 16 sections, too many to focus on all of them! I’ve picked 8 sections where I think the winner will come from, if you aren’t in one of these sections, I’m more than happy for you to prove me wrong! You can never write off a team with Tim Douce in it and with his brother David in the lead spot, they should win Section 1. Cameron Tegg & Lee Schraner are not only great mates but they can play and should be too strong in Section 3. Section 4 has a very interesting match-up with Rowan Donohue & Simon Zaporozec taking on last year’s runners up in Joseph Thomas & Chris Roach, I’m sure Simon won’t be taking it easy on Joey! Section 5 sees the young gun State Players of Brad Gibson & Michael Sims pairing together and should have the fire power to play in the post sectionals. In Section 7 State skip Robert McMullen will partner with David Genford but the very young team of Lachie Sims & Rhys McDougall will be keen to defeat their idol in Rowdy. The form bowler in the South is Josh Mabb and he will be skipping Liahm O’Brien, who recently won the BTS Fours. They should prove too good in Section 8. Section 13 will have the contest I’d be most interested in watching, Darren Monks & Keghan Booth vs defending champions Peter Zoon & Chris Dudman. The winner will not only take out Section 13 but be a serious contender to take out the title. The final section where I think the winner could come from is Section 15. The two outstanding teams in this one is Ray Boutcher & David Minns who should battle it out with Wayne Manson & Aaron Page for the section. So there you have it, I’m predicting Sections 1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 13 & 15 should produce the winner. But if you are a regular listener to my podcast, Talking Bowls, you’ll know I’m not that good at picking sectional winners! Anybody can win if they play well enough on the day!
The Singles is the blue ribbon event of the week and 16 players will qualify for the 2nd day of play on the 7th of January. Could I possibly predict all 16 players? No chance! But I’ll give it a crack, just so people can hate me for not picking them!
Last year’s runner up Will Springer won’t have it all his own way with a likely 3rd round match up vs Simon Zaporozec. I’ll take Zapper to survive. The second player will most likely come from Peter Zoon & Aaron Page and with the form Page is in, lock him in. The next group of players is a tough one. Darren Monks, Tom O’Brien & Greg Douce are all good singles players & Luke Patterson is always proving the doubters wrong at this level. My selection? I’ll go with Greg Douce. We then have a very open section of the tournament, with whoever getting through will be the underdog in the Round of 16. Sam Springer will tell you that he should get through and in all honesty, he’s probably right.
The next spot is wide open in a tough section of the draw. Josh Baker, Julien Brown, Josh Lording & Jacob Brown are all bowlers to watch for the future but I think Jacob Brown’s strong history of singles play is enough reason to back him to go through. Cameron Tegg will be too strong for either Rhys McDougall or Andrew Roach and should continue this run into the Semi Finals if he bowls close to what he is capable of.
On to Kings Meadows where the winner of Matthew Jackson & Peter Bannister should be too good in the next round, I’ll take Bannister for the win. In one of the toughest 1st round matches Daniel Baker will take on Andrew Whitmore with the winner more than likely taking on Josh Mabb. I really like the way Whitmore plays but Mabb is in career form and if he is able to maintain it over the holidays, should be good enough to win.
The next section is an interesting one. Jarrah Allan made the semi-finals last year but faces club mate Robert McMullen in the first round. Waiting for the winner is probably Gene Ayton and after that two very skilled players in Lachie Sims & David Minns. I think Rowdy takes this section of the draw but Minnsy is the main danger. Rowdy’s likely opponent in the Round of 16 should come down to Dudman vs Gibson. Dudman is a very good singles player and should be good enough to set up an exciting match vs Rowdy.
The final two sections at Kings Meadows should see a great 2nd round encounter vs Tim Douce & Keghan Booth, with my money being on Douce to progress. The defending champion, David Genford, will play Graeme Hemingway and then more than likely play the winner of Brad Carver & Geoff Davis. I suspect that the defending champion should still be alive on the 7th of January (But I won’t be taking anything for granted!).
The final four players will come out of the West Launceston greens. And it is here we will see the 2nd round match of the day & maybe the match of the whole tournament with Michael Sims taking on Lee Schraner. Both are excellent singles players but I think Schraner’s experience will get him over the line. After that the winner will probably need to defeat Ray Boutcher who is always there about in this format.
The next group of 8 players is an interesting mix. Andrew Appleyard, David Douce, Liahm O’Brien & Chris Roach should get through to the second round and I think Chris Roach will escape from this section, although all 4 of the players mentioned could find themselves alive in the fourth round.
We then see the most open of sections. Spencer, Bishop, Brown, Elliott, Walker-Davis, Oliver, Goold & Moore are not names often associated with the pointy end of the State Championships, which gives these players a great opportunity to put their name in lights. I think it will come down to Bishop & Moore with Bishop just getting across the line.
And finally, the last 8 players sees some up and coming players taking on the legends of yesteryear who are still keen to show they have what it takes. Shawn Leitch & Ryan Guy will be leading the youngsters whilst Bobby Bye, Pat Hoffman & Ross Bannister, last year’s semi-finalist, will be keen to make the up and comers wait a year before they advance. The winner of the Bannister/Hoffman 1st round match should progress, last year I would have said that was Bannister but based on form, I’ll take Hoffman to round out the 16 players.
Good luck to all players taking part and don’t worry about letting me know that my selections were wrong, I’m expecting most of them to be off the mark!