Tasmanian Men Tie the Series, Victoria take home the shields
The Tasmanian Men can walk away with their heads held high after the completion of the 5 test series today at Spreyton. Going into the day locked at 1.5-1.5, the Men knew that to win the shield they must win both their matches (or draw one) to win the shield off the Victorian side.
*N.B. The two test matches today were 18 ends due to concern over the Victorian team not being able to catch their flights after the completion of the days play*
The morning matches saw Tasmania start off very strongly. Once again Michael Sims’ rink of Aaron Johns, Chris Dudman and Aaron Page were outstanding and built a lead of 16-3 after 10 ends. Mark Nitz’ rink also got off to a great start leading 9-4 after 9 ends and with Lee Schraner leading 15-11 after 10 ends, it looked like the Tasmanian’s would have it all their own way, leading by 17 at one stage. But the Victorians fought back hard. Schraner would lose 16 shots in the last 8 ends to go down by 11 against Matthew Flapper. Nitz lost 8 shots over 4 ends and would also ultimately succumb to Wayne Roberts 12-16. Thankfully for Tasmania, Sims’ rink was able to maintain their strong run, picking up 8 shots in the last ends to win 25-8 against Nick McIntyre and give the men a 2.5-1.5 lead with one test remaining. Sims was the leading rink of the series at this stage having won all 4 matches.
The afternoon match was a pressure packed affair. Victoria knowing they needed the win started much better, thanks mainly to Nick McIntyre’s rink who got off to a 12-5 lead against Schraner. Nitz (8-5) & Sims (9-5) had their noses in front and the tight finish to the series was being enjoyed by the Spreyton crowd. From the 10th-18th ends, Nitz vs Flapper would only see two multiple scores recorded, such was the closeness of the game, Nitz winning 17-10 and having the unusual distinction of being first finished. Sims looked to have lost his unbeaten run losing a 3 on the 16th end leaving him down 15-19 with 2 ends to play. But a 4 and a 2 on the final 2 ends, not only gave Sims and his rink the perfect 5-0 series, but it put Tasmania ahead by 1 with 2 ends to play. At that stage of the game Schraner was down 12-20 but all focus was on the overall scoreboard, knowing a draw was enough for Tasmania to win the shield. On the penultimate end, Tasmania was holding 2/3 shots before with his last bowl McIntyre converted and picked up a 3 on the penultimate end, giving Schraner the last bowls of the series, knowing that he needed 2 for Tasmania to win the shield. The head was not developing nicely for Tasmania and as the skips crossed, Victoria was holding. Schraner missed with his first bowl and with Victoria playing a cover bowl, Schraner would need to pull out a miraculous bowl for the series win. Alas it wasn’t to be, Victoria picked up a 3 and retained the shield due to their victory last year.
The girls were playing for pride on day 3, after conceding the series 3-0 on day 2. The performance on Day 3, was much improved and showed the potential that this side has. With the addition of Rebecca Van Asch for future matches, the core part of this team gained some valuable experience that should hold them in good stead going into the future. The morning match saw Bree Mabb get another victory, whilst Courtney Hobbs & Lyn Triffitt both lost.
The highlight of the day was the victory in the fifth and final test. The difference in this test was the rinks that lost ensured they did so by a small margin. Mabb lost by 2 shots, but her rink of Erin Sesara, Dee Harman & Hollie Keen, should be pleased with their 3 wins and 2 losses for the series, seeing that both defeats were only by 2 shots. Triffitt also lost by 2 shots, leaving Hobbs’ rink as the big winner, by 10 shots, giving the ladies a 6 shot win overall. A special mention should go to Victoria’s Tiffany Brodie. Her rink went through the series undefeated.
The Tasmanian players of the series were announced at the conclusion of the 5th match. The Men had about six players that could have been worthy of the award but Chris Dudman was outstanding playing 2 for Michael Sims across all 5 test matches, a successful return to the Tasmanian team.
For the women, Bree Mabb was announced as the winner, a fantastic effort seeing that this was her first series as a skip for her state.
The next series for the Tasmanian side will be against the ACT, being played at the end of January.
By David Genford