Bester & Krizanic in the box seat
The pre-tournament favourites, Ryan Bester (Qld) & Carla Krizanic (Vic) lived up to their hype with 2 wins each, both in very different circumstances. The fortunes of Tasmania’s Jarrod Long took a turn for the worse with 2 losses to Brett Irvine (NT) & Ashley Halls (SA).
The winner of the Krizanic & Val Smith (NSW) was always going to have the upper hand in the women’s tournament and it would be the Victorian who would take the win 21-14. West Australian representative Lisa Featherby continued her winning ways with a convincing win over Renata Callisto(SA) and it would be these two players who would be undefeated after Round 2.
The 3rd round of action looked to shake up the standings in favour of Featherby. Ester Regan from Queensland was proving no match for Featherby and Callisto had taken an 11-1 lead against Krizanic. It was at this stage that Krizanic was able to prove how good a bowler she is. “I knew I just had to be patient and hang tough. I wasn’t playing bad, so if I didn’t panic, the results would start to go my way”, said Krizanicafter the game. And patient she was. The remaining part of the game saw a swing of massive proportions, with Callisto only gaining one more shot to Krizanic’s 20 and a score line of 21-12. Featherby hung on to the win and the two three game winners will match up against each other Friday morning. Amazingly, both players have the same for and against 63-31 from the first three rounds. Can Featherby continue this month of sporting fairytale’s and take the title and earn a berth in the World Champion of Champions? Not if Krizanic can help it. “I’m really enjoying playing on these greens, there is nothing different to this game (against Featherby) than any other, so I’ll go in with the same game plan and play to my best”.
In the Men’s section, Long needed to get two wins on the board to put the pressure on the other players. At 6-0 and 13-9 & 15-12, Long looked like adding a win against the Northern Territory. But Brett Irvine was not to be denied, picking up a crucial 6 shots over 4 ends to take the lead 18-15. Long was able to stem the loss of shots with a 3 to tie the score and keep the crowd on edge on who would win. Irvine steadied again and picked up 3 consecutive singles to win 21-19. In this round Ashley Halls (SA) boosted his shots up margin with a 21-5 win, but the other matches of Bester/Teys & Harris/Twyerould proving close with Bester (2 shots) & Harris (1 shot) taking the wins. Bester getting the upper hand against Teys could prove to be the match that decides this title. Both players played very well but it would be the Canadian who held top spot after 4 rounds.
The 5th round of matches saw some players take out convincing wins. Teys’ class shone through in his 21-6 win against Irvine, whilst Twyerould won 21-12 against Mark Dulihanty (ACT). Long struggled to win consecutive ends in his match against Ashley Halls with a convincing 21-10 victory to Halls ending Long’s chance of taking the title. The crucial match of the round was that of Ryan Bester & Pieter Harris, the winner would be the only 4 game winner after 5 rounds. It would be Bester again who would take out a close battle, once again winning 21-19. When asked about having exposure to close matches at a high level like this, Bester agreed it was a help; “Experience helps to remain cool under pressure, so to win two close games today has left me feeling ok!” Bester now knows that 2 more wins will give him the title but is also aware not to get too far ahead of himself. “In singles you just take baby steps, get to 5, then 10 and so on. Make sure you only lose 1’s when in trouble. But looking at the ladder, its close and anything could still happen.”
Bester is right, one slip up by him, against Jarrod Long and Mark Dulihanty tomorrow, will see him fall behind bothAaron Teys and Ashley Halls as they have a superior shots up record. So even though Long is out of contention, his first match tomorrow could prove decisive for the overall result.
I’d also like to clarify a point I made in my preview to these championships. If Ryan Bester is victorious, the next placed player will represent Australia in the World Champion of Champions. If this is the case at this level, maybe states should be able to send their runner up if someone is unable to play as was the case for the ACT and Tasmanian women bowlers. Food for thought.
By David Genford