Victoria start off on the right foot
Victoria has taken a 1-0 advantage in both the Men’s & Women’s test series which started at the Spreyton Bowls Club today. Tasmania will need to ensure they win at least one of the tests tomorrow to keep the series alive heading into day 3.
The Men were very competitive, often holding the lead but it would be the Victorian team who finished the stronger winning by 11 shots. Michael Sims was the only rink to register a victory, 20-19, over Nick McIntyre but after leading 9-1 and 18-11, may feel a little disappointed with the end score line. Chris Dudman, who returned to the state side, played like he had never left and was once again a strong force for Sims.
Mark Nitz got off to a rough start against Wayne ‘Hank’ Roberts, finding himself down 2-14 but then picked up 13 shots in 6 ends to level the scores. Roberts played very well for Victoria and was able to alter the momentum again, winning 6 of the last 8 ends and only allowing Nitz’ rink singles on the 2 ends that they won.
Lee Schraner had the opposite start to Nitz, getting off to an early lead (9-2) before losing the next 4 ends. Schraner was against quality opposition with ex-Australian player Matt Flapper, who also had the luxury of having Dylan Fisher playing 3 for him. Lochie Sims, who was making his state debut, played very well and showed that he could become a regular at this level.
The consensus from the Tasmanian team seems to be that they had their chance, but that they need to improve heading into the next two days. “Today, both teams faced tough conditions and the Victorians were very solid with their draw shots. Tassie produced a good effort but need to lift a little if we want to win,” said ex-Victorian Lee Schraner. Michael Sims, who is now regularly bowling in Victoria with the Melbourne Bowls club also spoke after the match, “Considering we didn’t play to our potential today, I’m feeling positive going into tomorrow.”
The Victorian women were very quick to get a score on the board and lead 20-0 early on in the game. The Tasmanian team could not recover from this and although they kept the score even at times, they never made any headway into the overall margin.
The only highlight from the match was the rink win to Bree Mabb, who was playing her first game as skip for Tasmania. Her rink of Erin Sesara, Dee Harman & Hollie Keen, were down 0-7 after 3 ends and 4-12 after 8 ends but then really knuckled down and won the next 7 ends and lead 15-12. Her opposition Brooke Edwards didn’t want Mabb to have it her own way and hit the lead once again with 3 ends in a row of her own. The 19th end proved to be crucial for this rink with Mabb able to pick up a 6 and into a lead that wouldn’t be threatened, the end score being 24-18.
Our other two rinks suffered big losses. Nicole Shortis defeated Lyn Triffitt 28-11 and Tiffany Brodie, who has ex-Tasmanian Mikayla Gibson playing 3 for her, defeated Courtney Hobbs 34-17. Gibson was making her debut for Victoria and was pleased with the way the test had gone. “It was good playing against my home state, it made me a little more determined to win I guess. No-one wants to lose against the team they used to play for!”
The Tasmanian side will now need to re-group and ensure that get off to a much brighter start to give themselves the best chance of picking up a win tomorrow. On paper, it’s a very strong Tasmanian side and if they can put today behind them and focus on the future, they should be able to enjoy a couple of better tests.
The second test will start at 9am tomorrow, followed by the 3rd test at 1:30 with all tests being played at Spreyton.
By David Genford