State Open Women’s Fours Preview

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Courtney Hobbs previews the women’s fours event for Bowls Tasmania.

Tomorrow sees the start of play in the 2016 Bowls Tasmania State Championships with the Women’s fours the first event of the week. Five sections will compete at Sandy Bay Bowls Club on day one of the championships, an increase in teams from the previous season. Bec Van Asch will be keen to defend her titles in all events this week, with the fours offering the opportunity for a three-peat for not only Bec, but also for team mates Gaylene Elsworthy and Kim Saunders. Bec said today: “The State Championships are a special event on my calendar which I like to keep clear so I am able participate. It is a great opportunity for me to play with mates and have some fun in such a competitive environment. Win or lose I enjoy their company, but it would of course be nice to complete a hat trick in the fours.  Last year was a very special year with some great results for me personally and will certainly be hard to ever replicate again.  I am looking forward to the new challenges that this years event will bring for me from a work perspective this year though and will be more focussed on that this year although I am playing in each discipline.” The spirit of the competition allows for this competitive attitude while also allowing some of the state’s best players to combine in combinations which can be hard to crack.
 
Section 1 and section 4 both have byes (three teams in each section), with the winners to compete in the only quarter final. Completing the top half of the draw will be the winner of section 5. This section should provide some quality bowls, with all four teams from the host region, and six competitors past or current members of the powerful Sandy Bay Bowls Club.
 
Section 2 will have 9 current State Open and Development squad members competing, with Maureen Zoon’s rink made up of the three in form state leads who each recently competed against Victoria in a test series. The section is a strong one on paper and it is hard to pick a favourite. Rounding out the draw is section 3, in my opinion the one to watch, with Chris Direen, Gail Price and Janet Rutherford looking to match it with the state’s best, Bec Van Asch.
 
“Following the conclusion of this week’s state championships, state selectors will meet to select the state open squads for the second half of the year. The teams for the Australian Sides Championships in ACT this March will be selected from players in the open squads.” State Chairman of Selectors, Phil Hobbs said. He went on to say: “The Sandy Bay greens will provide consistent playing conditions favourable to such a quality event.  Green keeper Alby Norris consistently provides greens in the 13.5 to 14.5 second range and this is ideal for top class play.  The state selectors will all be in the south watching the completion of the state championships and realistically this is the final opportunity for players to push their case for inclusion in the state side.”