Mad Dog singles field is set
Bowls Tasmania have this year partnered with the Mad Dog singles, which sees our men’s and women’s indoor singles champions earning direct entry into the main event of the Bowls Australia ranking event. Rebecca Van Asch secured the women’s spot in the event but is unavailable due to Australian commitments, while Jarrod Long will take his play in the lineup along with other direct entrants and qualifiers as reported here by David Genford.
The 2016 Aero Mad Dog singles field has been announced following the completion of qualifying over the weekend. The field looks very strong and should see some high quality bowls at the East Launceston Bowls Club on the weekend of September 17 & 18.
The two marquee players will prove very difficult to beat. Ryan Bester has been ranked number one in Australia for the last two years and will be keen to add to his points for this seasons rankings. Bester has won both Commonwealth Silver and Bronze (for Canada) but will be one of the favourites to walk away with Gold. Bester is a proven singles player having won the Golden Nugget in 2014, the Musgrave Hill $10,000 singles twice, Ballina Summerland Singles and was runner up in the 2015 Australia Open. He also helped the Murray Steamers win the Australian Premier League in 2014. The crowds will be keen to see if his drive is as deadly as people say!
Although Ryan Burnett doesn’t have the same resume as Bester, the way he plays the game will ensure he becomes a crowd favourite. Burnett is still in his early 20’s and has had strong success at the World Under 25 level. His relocation to the Gold Coast should have him primed for a strong run for Scotland in the next Commonwealth games.
The direct entries to the field see a strong mix of Tasmanian players keen to prove they can match it with best. Ex Australian players Mark Strochnetter and defending champion Lee Schraner will be at the forefront and would love to have the opportunity to add some scalps to their belt. Mark Nitz is always a chance at whatever he enters and Anthony Burne has the class to once again finish on the top 4 despite not playing regular bowls! Other players who have recently reached Tasmanian State Singles Finals include David Genford, Sam Springer, Will Springer and Lachie Sims as well as high calibre players such as Chris Dudman, Robert McMullen, Aaron Page and Michael Sims who were recent state champions in the fours have to be considered chances too! We also have the State Champion of Champions winner in Jarrod Long looking to hit form before he goes to the Mainland to take on the other state champions in the National event. Other direct entry players not mentioned include Phil Mundy, Mick Sweeney and Patrick Smith, all players who on their day can test any player they are up against.
The North West qualifiers saw some well-known players add their name to the draw. The closest post sectional match saw David Gamble defeat Sam McLean. Gamble lead McLean by 3 with one to play before McLean played a bomb to sit out a bowl for 4. Gamble handled the pressure well, killing the end and picking up two to take the win. Dee Harman was the only female to win a qualifying section in the state but found the going against state player Bradley Gibson who was able to run away with the win 30-7. Luke Richardson continued his strong form since his return from WA with a 15-10 victory over Jake Wyllie. It would not surprise me if some North West players ensured they landed Richardson in the Calcutta, he will be a big show to be at the pointy end of the proceedings. On Friday, John Davis was the first North West player to qualify, demonstrating some strong draw bowls. Davis, who plays 2 for Burnie, defeated Matthew Brown 35-9 in his section and defeated Shane Stanfield 17-13 to make his first appearance at this event.
The North saw five players qualify from a field of 30. John Bowerman turned back the clock with some fabulous touch draw bowling to defeat promising junior Josh Appleyard 15-10. Paul Lowery of the Westbury Bowls Club had a great battle with Stuart Groom. Groom lead by one shot going into the final end but Lowery was good enough to get two shots to deny the East Launceston local a spot in the main draw. Peter Zoon used his experience to dominate a determined Matthew Jackson 22-9 and cannot be counted out of a few surprises against more fancied opposition. Qualifying on Saturday saw David Minns dominate all opponents and signalled his intentions that he has the ability to take out the title. The last Northern spot went to Brendan Sullivan. The ex-Geeveston player had a day out and defeated Mike Shingles in his post sectional game to advance.
The Southern qualifying saw some great bowls tale place at the Kingborough Indoor Centre. Steve Graf was on top of his game and he needed to be as Patrick Hoffman pushed him but Graf held on. A top draw bowler who is always composed, Graf will give his opponents headaches during the main event. Darren Beattie managed to escape his section narrowly but took advantage of his section win to defeat Jarrah Allan in another close battle. David McLean showed why he is still thought of as one of the premier bowlers in the state with some convincing section wins and then defeating club mate Taelyn Male to book his ticket to the field of 32. McLean will be very popular in the Calcutta with both Southern and North Wets players keen to get involved. The Saturday qualifying in the South saw some of the more fancied bowlers defeated with both Craig Griggs and Rick Ormerod proving that they shouldn’t be taken lightly in the singles arena. Ormeroddefeated Gene Ayton & Shane Garth on his way to qualifying with Craig Griggs got the best of Josh Mabb and Michael Taylor.
And that sets up the field of 32. The Calcutta leading up to the event will be run on Facebook before being concluded at Sporties Hotel on the Friday night before the bowls starts on the Saturday. Who could win, who will win? It’s a great field, lock it in to your diary to come and witness some great bowls.
By David Genford