Pairs Triumph for Tassie Pair
Michael Sims (Trevallyn) & Lee Schraner (Rosny Park) have both finished the Victorian Open as champions with Sims winning the Mixed Pairs and Schraner the Mens Pairs, both walking away with $1000 prize money. Schraner would double that money with his effort in the singles but it would be a final to forget, the second time he would be the runner up in the blue ribbon event.
Sims teamed up with Sharon Steele, from the ACT to emerge victorious in a game where Sims was brilliant. After getting away to a shaky start and a 1-6 score line, you could be forgiven for thinking that it was going to be a tough game for the pair but a 5 got them back on track and the momentum then was all theirs. “At 1-6, I thought we had ruined all our hard work leading up to the final to have a bad TV performance” said Sims after the match. “A few deep breaths helped me get back on track!” The fact the game was being live streamed added to the pressure, with Sims not having featured in front of the cameras before this game. “It made me nervous knowing that friends and family were watching back home. The worst part was, you could hear the commentators talking about your game from the side of the green! After a few ends, I didn’t notice it as much as I felt settled in to the game”. Sims was under the watchful eye of his NTC coach, Mark Cowan, in the commentary box, but to finish the game, it was nothing but superlatives as Sims took the game by the throat and hardly put a foot wrong. “To take out the final was a great sense of relief. After the first few ends I was able to just focus on my delivery, which worked out well.”
Schraner played with Brad Marron, from Victoria and both played an outstanding match in game that was never really in doubt, the final score of 22-6 demonstrating this. This was the second time Schraner had won the Men’s Pairs title after previously leading for Aaron Wilson but this time winning from the skips position. “It felt awesome to win, but to be honest I’m still in a bit of shock, you don’t expect that margin in a final” said Schraner immediately after his win. “Brad just set it up beautifully. He left his best match for the final, which makes my job a whole lot easier.” When asked about which title meant more to him, Schraner was very diplomatic with his response; “It’s always difficult to compare titles. To first lead for Aaron but to then skip this one, it’s just a different feeling but great all the same. It’s great to win titles with such good friends and I’m pleased to have won with the two of them” For Schraner, there wasn’t a big chance to celebrate this win, the pitfalls of making both the singles and pairs finals. “I’ll be celebrating but with a big match ahead, plus the travel home, I need to make sure I’m ready. But I will be looking forward to the cooler climate of Hobart as it’s stinking hot up here!”
The double was a step too far for Schraner as he faced a red hot Matthew Flapper (Vic) who dominated the final. The 21-4 result demonstrates the dominance and shows the quality of opposition Schraner was up against. After losing a final in such a manner, it can be difficult to focus on the positives but Schraner can look back on such a positive week of bowls, 24 wins, 3 losses and some handy pocket money to take away from such a major event. A gold and a silver is nothing to be sneezed at, as well as the ranking points that will go a long way to helping him repeat his Top 4 performance from last year.
Bowls Victoria should be congratulated for the way they were able to stream the matches live on line, allowing so many Tasmanian supporters to keep up to date with how our players were getting on.
By David Genford