Men’s Pairs Preview
Tuesday will see the commencement of the Men’s Pairs. 104 players split into 13 sections will be fighting to either win their section or be one of the three lucky losers that will advance to the Round of 16. Cameron Tegg & Lee Schraner are the defending champions but there are many teams that are in with a chance of taking the title. Let’s take a brief look at each section
East Devonport – Sections 1-3
Section 1 looks very even on paper. A lot of experience in this group with skips Leon Webb, Ricky Richardson & Pat Hoffman all players who have played for their state or regional teams. The Invermay pairing of Boden & Illingworth have won sections in the Pairs before. I’m leaning towards Richardson here with Jarryd Brown in the lead position proving the difference.
Section 2 is another that looks very even across the top three teams. Gene Ayton, Ray Boutcher & Greg Douce are all quality players that could carry their team if they are playing well. I think the team cohesion between Rocket Horton and Greg Douce plus the home ground advantage of being Coasters will get them over the line.
Section 3 is dominated by David Gamble & Mark Nitz. Previous winners of this event, they look too strong for their opposition. Having said that, favourites get beaten and the three other teams will be very keen to cause an upset.
Devonport Sections 4-9
The 4th section could see any of the four teams win. Peter Bannister is skipping Steve Graf but hasn’t had a lot of success this year as a skip. Adam Gurr has Damien Lewis who despite being a relatively new bowler to the sport, is a very good draw player who will hold his own in this company. The Latrobe combination of Phillip Moore and Graham Hay will be confident of success as will Brad Carver and Shannon Kerec. My tip will be Bannister but I wouldn’t be putting any money on it!
In Section 5, the first round match of Brodie Baker and Andrew Whitmore vs David & Tim Douce should decide the section. Both combinations have won this title before and will be keen to have a crack at repeating their success. My tip is Whitmore to defeat club mate Tim Douce.
Section 6 should see Scott Summers & Rob McMullen progress but McMullen has never escaped the sectional play of Pairs before. The team most likely to stop him this year is Joey Thomas & Josh Baker. I’m predicting this is the year that the curse is broken and McMullen gets through.
Section 7 sees last year’s finalist Michael Sims team up with new partner Daniel Baker. They have two solid opponents in Tristan Bakes & Ben Fidler plus Corey Bowerman and John Bowerman. If you ask Corey they are probably favourites to win the title but I’ll back Sims to advance.
The defending champions of Tegg & Schraner are in Section 8, where the toughest competition should come from Jacob & Julian Brown. Both players will love the challenge to take on Schraner and have the ability to defeat him if they play to their potential. I think Schraner will ensure he gets through and puts his quest to go back to back well and truly on track.
Section 9 will be interesting. Usually Ricky Maughan can’t watch or is told not to watch his son play in Championship events, but this time around he will be playing against him! Isaac Maughan will be teaming up with David Minns and should go into the section as favourites. It’s great to see an experienced and successful bowler such as Minns taking on Isaac under his wing. Mike & Dale Maundrill had a great run in the Pairs last year and will be out to repeat that performance. I think Minns will go through.
Latrobe Sections 10-13
Section 10 will probably come down to the first game of the day between Chris Roach & Josh Mabb against Anthony Rowe & Keghan Booth. Apart from Roach, the three players are all club mates at Buckingham and will know each other’s games well. I’d favour Mabb in this matchup and to win the section.
Section 11 should have some great matchups. The Springer brothers will take their time but it will be the youthful combinations of Jake Wyllie & Taelyn Male and Matthew Jackson & Lachie Sims that should be battling out the section win. Very hard to back against Sims and that will be my pick for the win.
The 12th section could go to any team. The Fidler combination of Blair & Heath will be hoping to continue their good form from the fours but Josh Walker-Davis & Kevin Rowlings also had a good day to qualify today. But my tip will be Matty Mitchell’s rink to finish on top.
The final section has one of the best matches of the day. Brad Gibson & Luke Richardson will match up against Chris Dudman & Phil Mundy. That match will have some great bowls played. Last year’s semi-finalists in the Pairs, Peter Thow & Warren Groves will be out to prove that their run last year was no fluke. I think the Dudman/Mundy combination will be too strong for their opponents.
So to recap, here are my 13 section winners with skips as published in the entries booklet;
R Richardson, G Douce, M Nitz, P Bannister, A Whitmore, R McMullen, D Baker, L Schraner, D Minns, J Mabb, L Sims, M Mitchell & P Mundy.
The 3 lucky losers is anyone’s guess but I’ll go with J Brown, T Douce & L Richardson.
If I didn’t pick you to go through, don’t stress. I only got 3 out of 6 section winners in the Fours and 4 of the 8 quarter finalists, so not picking you is probably a good luck charm!
By David Genford