2017 State Mens Fours Preview
The 2017 State Championships start tomorrow with the Fours being the first event. The Spreyton bowls club will host 21 teams in 6 sections competing for the 8 spots in the quarter finals. This will be the first time that Bowls Tasmania has eliminated a post sectional bye, with the 2 best teams that don’t win their section also advancing to the quarter finals. Let’s have a look at each section and see who I think will be the 6 section winners to advance.
In Section 1, it could be the first up father son battle that determines the section. Luke Richardson’s team of Peter French, Callan Butler & Rocket Horton should be considered the favourites but Luke’s Dad Ricky will be keen to stop his son in his tracks. The dark horse of the section is the rink skipped by Julian Frost. I’ll stick with the favourites here of Luke Richardson to take the section.
Section 2 has a bye, when each team has a bye they will be awarded an 8 shot win for the benefit of deciding the next 2 best teams. David Minns goes into this event with a very strong side. Ray Boutcher, Wayne Ogden & Brodie Baker know each other’s game well and should provide some strong heads for Minns to take advantage of. Heath Fidler who is joined by family members Blair & Eric plus Phillip Hall will be hoping to take a surprise win off Minns or get as many shots on the board to help be one of the ‘lucky losers’. Minns the winner for me.
Section 3 looks to have some intriguing contests in the sectional play. The East Launceston team of Damien Lewis, Adam Gurr and the Springer brothers will be keen to do well, but it could all depend on which order they play in. I suspect Gurr will skip and that will give them the best chance of doing well. Another team that could play in any order is David Foster, Grant Wakefield, Josh Mabb & Gene Ayton. The last 3 could all easily skip the rink but with Josh Mabb in such fine form it would be tough to not have him play there. Then you add to the section a thrown together rink featuring Peter Bannister & Steve Graf in the back end plus a rink skipped by the experienced Leon Webb, this section could be won by any of the four teams. My pick will be Mabb’s rink to win.
Section 4, despite only having three teams, is not only the toughest section of the draw but one of the toughest sectional groups I’ve ever seen. Here are the three teams in full as entered, Andrew Baird, Rodney Murray, Lachie Sims & David McLean, Brad Gibson, Phil Mindy, Chris Dudman & Scott Summers and finally Andrew Whitmore, David Douce, Greg Douce & Tim Douce. Wow! There should be some outstanding bowls played in this section. This is easily the toughest section to predict, I think McLean’s rink will just finish on top, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see all teams finish on 2 wins and shots up be the decider of who goes through.
Section 5 is the only other section to feature four teams and appears to be wide open on paper. The first match of the day between Daniel Baker & Chris Roach could well decide the section but if either teams take Ben Fidler or Michael Taylor lightly, they could be in for a shock. Daniel Baker’s rink of Matty Jackson, Joey Thomas & Josh Baker will be my tip for the section but Chris Roach’s support cast of Matty Mitchell, Jake Wyllie & Keghan Booth match up well on paper and will favour themselves to come out on top.
The final section sees the defending champions looking to start off on the right track to defend their title. Michael Sims, Cameron Tegg, Rob McMullen & Lee Schraner have toyed with swapping the order around from last year’s team but whether they do or not is another question. They will face two experienced teams lead by Graham Hay & Mike Oliver but Schraner’s dream team have the fire power to break anyone and will be very tough to beat.
So my 6 section winners are L Richardson, Minns, Ayton, McLean, D Baker & Schraner.
Predicting the lucky losers is not an easy feat. Will having a bye be an advantage or a disadvantage? Only time will tell. I’m going to go with Roach & R Richardson.
Think I’m way off the mark? That’s ok, I’d love for you to prove me wrong. Or put your neck on the line and pick the 8 qualifiers before it starts! Feel free to add your comment to the Facebook posts.
Best of luck to all players!
By David Genford