That’s a wrap.
Julian Brown got the fairy tale finish he was hoping for in the annual Tasmania versus Victoria test series, which wrapped up at Kings Meadows Indoor this afternoon. Heading into the final days play with a 3-2 lead over the Victorians in the race for the Stuart-Jackman shield, the boys needed to win one of two tests to take the shield and claim back to back series wins. Brown was confident that the boys would claim the shield, but knew that the Victorian boys would push them to the wire. It all came down to the last end of the final test, after a loss in the morning locked the boys shield at 3-3. Heading into the final end 2 shots down on the board, but holding the advantage of a win and a draw in the other two disciplines, Brown needed to defend a 5 shot overall lead. Julian and young gun Isaac Maughan were paired up for the third time throughout the series and nerves were no barrier for them as the 24 remaining players for both Tasmania and Victoria cheered on the last end of play. Isaac made it hard for the Victorian’s by nailing it with his first bowl and had them chasing from the start. Holding 2 with only one Tasmanian bowl to play and the series all but wrapped up 4-2, Julian stepped on the mat with one thing in mind, a rink win to top off a great week. He rose for the occasion just as he had hoped and drew a third to take his rink 18-17 in a thriller.
Bowls Tasmania and Bowls Victoria recently revamped the annual test series, changing the format to provide every advantage to both the boys and girls teams heading into the Australian Under 18 Championships which are held in early October each year. The new format allows for seven juniors to be selected to play in a series decided by the best of seven tests across three days, in the lead up to the Australian Under 18 Championships, moved forward from its previous December timeslot. Both Tasmanian and Victorian officials agreed that the new format was a success and the camaraderie between players on and off the green was a credit to them throughout the week. For the first time, Tasmanian players were involved in selection of disciplines and the discussion and commitment made by all team members showed the depth of leaders we have amongst the group. The revamped coaching panel of Tom O’Brien and Courtney Hobbs covered needs of the playing group and the support of the Bowls Tasmania high performance program definitely shines through in the emerging talent of the group.
The Tasmanian girls team were always in with a show, pushing the strong Victorian team in each test. They finished with an overall 2-5 loss, but showed that they will be a challenge to their opposition come October. The seven-a-side format has been full of positives for the girls as their biggest barrier has typically been match play experience. Each girl has now added 7 state junior games to their tally, with which comes a confidence that is not easily taught. Throughout the week both the local crowd and the travelling Victorian cheer squad were constantly applauding the standard of bowls, with some top quality games being played by both teams.
By Courtney Hobbs