Henselite Tigers fight hard during Day 2
Both Henselite Tigers teams have put themselves into great positions after Day 2 of the 2017 National Sides Championships. A big test awaits with the three powerhouse states ahead of them (NSW, Qld & Vic) but recent Test Series have shown that Tigers are a chance to turn a few heads.
The morning matches saw us take on the home state, South Australia who obviously had the support of the crowd. The Women’s team needed 2 wins today but were in a tight clash early. Lyn Triffitt and Rebecca Van Asch seemed to be going through the complete opposite fortunes, almost cancelling each other out. Triffitt lead well early 13-5 whilst Van Asch was down 2-10. Triffit’s lead was reduced and Van Asch narrowed hers only for both games to turn again, Triffitt winning by 6, Van Asch losing by 7. Triffit’s rink should be given huge credit for keeping their opposition to only 12 shots, despite losing 10 ends. At this level, that is an amazing effort. That left the in-form Candice Hodgetts and her rink to decide the match. They started promisingly leading 5-1 but preceded to lose 6 of the next 7 ends. Hodgetts, who has had excellent support from 3 Hollie Keen, kept the team in a positive frame of mind and worked their way back into the game, levelling the scores on their rink with one end to play. But more importantly, a one on the last end would get an overall draw, anything more would be a win. With Dee Harman drawing the shot, SA were under pressure and a nice edge from Hollie Keen gave her a bowl right behind the jack. Tassie now held the 2 they needed to win the game. There would be no change before Hodgett’s first bowl, when she sat the SA closest and made it 3. Renata Callisto could not change the head and the Tigers were able to celebrate a crucial two shot win.
The Men had an enthralling game that was incredibly close and could have gone either way. The Men got off to a slow start but fought back hard. Mark Nitz & Michael Sims were the first games to finish with Nitz having a draw and Sims narrowly going down to Scott Thulborn by 3. This left Lee Schraner on the green to take on Wayne Reudiger. Needing a 4 on the last end, the Tigers support crew was given great hope when Robert McMullen trailed the jack to hold 5 shots. Could a miracle last end be on the cards? The SA team wasn’t to be denied, cutting down to one shot and with Lee Schraner to play two bowls, needing the perfect bowl, it wasn’t to be. Schraner & Reudiger finished their match in a draw and a 3 shot win to the home team.
The Men needed a win against Western Australia if they wanted to be a legitimate threat for a Top 3 finish. The game started very evenly but then two of our rinks, Nitz & Schraner, really started to take a hold of the match. Schraner picked up 17 shots over 10 ends, only losing a single and lead 23-8 after 17 ends. Nitz couldn’t quite match Schraner but 15 shots over 11 ends saw him lead 24-12 after 19 ends. This was a commanding overall lead that enabled our players to relax and enjoy the last few ends. Michael Sims only had to keep his score close with the other two going so well and that is exactly what he did. The margin for either team was never above 5, with the WA team skipped by Thomas Mitchell winning by 3. The end result, a 20 shot victory to the Henselite Tigers.
The Women knew that another victory on Day 2 would be ideal and provide some momentum heading into the 3rd day. At the half way stage it looked like this would be achieved easily by our women. Both Hodgetts & Van Asch were away to strong starts 17-4 after 11 & 19-10 after 12 respectively. The WA team was being kept in touching distance by Kristina Krstic who lead Lyn Triffitt 17-6 after 12. Whilst the rinks of Van Asch & Triffitt remained steady in their margins, a fight back against Hodgetts saw the overall score reduced to 4 shots after 45 ends. Triffitt picked up some valuable shots late, 3’s on the 18th and 21st ends, so despite losing 16-27, her rink was able to help keep Tasmania in front when it counted. Van Asch exchanged 3’s with her opposition on the last 2 ends and finished an 8 shot winner 30-22. Once again this left Hodgetts as the last rink to finish. A 4 to Hodgetts on the 19th end made it very difficult for SA but a 4 of their own immediately after gave them some hope, needing 5 on the last end. Hodgetts skipped the last end well and ensured a 5 was never on the cards, dropping one and taking the overall match by 4.
After the game Hodgetts was full of praise for her rink, “All the girls have been contributing really well and we have gelled as a team. I have been impressed with the way that Hollie (Keen) has handled the pressure very well.” On making her debut as a skip at this level, Hodgetts response showed why she has been so level headed in this role, “I just wanted to be competitive and hold my own. So far we have been good enough to come away with the wins, but that’s thanks to the whole rink. I worked hard on my weighted shot before we came away and at the moment I have the confidence to play the shot before me.”
Hodgetts’ rink finds themselves in rare air being only one of three teams to be undefeated after 4 matches. For the Men, Lee Schraner is in 2nd position with 3 and a half wins behind Kurt Brown of Qld who is the only skip to have won all 4 encounters. All 3 Men’s skips are in the Top 10.
But it’s not the Skip’s Ladder that’s important, it’s the overall that we care about and it currently looks good for the Henselite Tigers. The Women sit in outright 3rd behind Victoria & Queensland who are both undefeated and yet to play Tasmania. NSW sit in 4th place but won both of their matches today.
The Men sit in 2nd in one of the most open competitions ever seen at the Sides Championships. 5 teams are tied on 3 Wins and 1 Loss with only the ACT, WA & NT out of the race for the title.
Day 3 sees us play Qld & NSW. The Men have shown they can match it with Qld after beating them 2-0 in the test series before the Championships started. The Women’s match will actually count for the test series as their first two tests were tied at 1-1. If either of our teams want to have a crack at the title, Day 3 will be extremely crucial. We wish our Henselite Tigers the best of luck!
Keep an eye out on the Bowls Tasmania Facebook page, where the last ends of games have been live streamed by Bowls Tas board member Chris Lee.
By David Genford