Burnie & Latrobe book their BPL Cup Spots
Burnie & Latrobe will be heading to the State Finals after an action packed night of bowls at the Burnie Bowls Club. The new BPL Cup format based on the Bowls Premier League & Jack Attack program, proved very stressful for these seasoned bowlers, with any error amplified.
The Latrobe team of Erin Sesara, Greg Douce & Dee Harman had a strong start to the night against Danny Patmore’s Burnie team. They won 3 of the 5 ends in both sets, only allowing their opposition a 1 on their second Power Play (Double Points) and won in straight sets 6-2, 4-3. This set up a match against Luke Richardson’s South Burnie team who had won their match against Penguin 6-5 5-2. Latrobe looked far from making the finals after the first set with South Burnie taking it 6-0. The beauty of sets play is that it starts at 0-0 again and Latrobe jumped out to a strong start leading 9-0 after 3 ends thanks to a Power Play 6 on the 3rd end. South Burnie did pick up consecutive 4’s but 9-8 gave the set to Latrobe. That left a one end tie break to decide it and despite having the last bowl, Richardson was unable to remove the Latrobe shot bowl and the first finalist was decided.
On the other side of the draw, Mark Nitz’ team of David Gamble & Patrick Saltmarsh had to scrap it out until the final bowl of the night. The first match against Burnie compatriots skipped by Patrick Smith looked pretty comfortable at 8-1 but Smith picked up threes in the last two ends to go down by 1. The second set was very low scoring, with Nitz leading 3-1 only to lose the last 3 ends and go down 3-4. Then the format of the game came into play with Nitz moving to lead for the tie break. He brought the mat up, jack back and drove the jack into the ditch. No-one from Smith’s team could out draw it and the risky manoeuvre paid off. This set up a semi-final encounter against a Spreyton team lead by Ian Moore. Spreyton had also come through a tie break win after losing their second set 1-10. Spreyton used their Power Play on the first end and picked up a 2, giving them a 4-0 lead. Burnie won the next three ends to level the scores but a 2 to Spreyton on the last end gave them an unexpected lead. The second set was a close and tense affair with Nitz holding on barely, 4-3 and the pressure of a tie break. There would be no trick plays this time around and with Spreyton’s last bowl, they needed to change the head. They did, but the jack killed, was re spotted and Nitz had metres of room to draw the winning shot, which he did.
After the match, Burnie President Anthony Harris was very pleased with how the night went. “The event was a great success, the short format of the game, which is common in most sports now, creates something different plus the opportunity to play a competitive tournament in the middle of winter is great.” The format of the game does put the players under a different scenario to what they are used to, Harris again; “It’s tense, no room for error and when games come down to the last bowl of the tie break, the pressure is on.” This is only the start of the BPL Cup as it moves around the state but Burnie Bowls club is already thinking to next year, “We’ll be involved again, it’s only going to get bigger and better and it should catch on pretty quick!”
The players were also very positive, first Erin Sesara from Latrobe; “It was fast paced and required a lot of concentration. You couldn’t relax at all or it would let the opposition in.” Sesara was glowing of her teammates Douce & Harman; “I thought we combined well considering it was out first time playing together. Compatibility played an important factor I think.” Could the Latrobe team continue their strong form in the State Final? “We are just happy to be there, we didn’t expect to get through! There will be some tough games ahead but we will certainly give it our best.”
Mark Nitz was very grateful of their first bowls in their tiebreakers, “It’s a pretty cut throat format, 5 of the 6 games tonight went to tiebreaker! We were set in our tiebreakers as our first bowl nailed the jack both times. The three of us are now very much looking forward to the state final.” And look forward to it they should, they will go in as one of the favourites to win their way to Queensland!
By David Genford