Men’s Open Pairs Preview
The Men’s Pairs State Championships will take place on the 4th of January at both the Trevallyn & North Launceston Bowls Clubs. Trevallyn will host Sections 1-6 whilst North will host sections 7-11. With more sections than the Fours, I won’t be able to be as in depth with my predictions, so if I leave your team out, please don’t be offended, but feel free to go out and win the section to prove me wrong!
Section one is an interesting one to start with. The team of David Minns & Isaac Maughan would have to head in as favourites but will be threatened by Luke Turner & Josh Baker in their first match plus the duo of Phillip Moore and Graham Hay. I think Minns/Maughan will be too strong and it’s great to see David Minns taking a young player like Isaac under his wing again, can they play consistently enough for the day to take the win? Selection – D Minns
Section two is a lot more wide open. The Springer brothers will think they are a big chance but I don’t think they are. For me the South Burnie combination of Nick Chilcott & Cameron Griffiths should be able to show that the North West Coast players mean business and get the job done. Selection – N Chilcott
Section three is a battle of two for mine and they’ll play each other first up. Mick Sweeney & Paul Williamson from the Rosny Park Bowls Club will take on the father and son combo of Ricky & Luke Richardson from South Burnie. This will be an intriguing match to watch with both skips capable of playing some exceptional bowls. I’ll just give the edge to the South Burnie duo but with limited confidence. Selection – L Richardson
Section four, Lee Schraner wins it. Does he have any weakness? It will all be on the shoulders of Josh Aplleyard. If he plays remotely well, Schraner should have enough bowls in the head to do the damage. Bigger fish have failed at group play but I don’t think Schraner will here. Selection – L Schraner.
Section five sees the defending singles champion Taelyn Male team up with East Launceston’s Robert McMullen and they will consider themselves very strong chances to advance. The Pair that intrigues me is Peter Bannister and Steve Graf. Steffi as he is affectionately known is a brilliant draw bowler that will provide Bannister multiple opportunities to create numbers. Could they be the ones to force an upset? McMullen is usually cursed in this discipline and even though he is housing me through this event, I’m going to stick my neck out and take the following pick; Selection – P Bannister.
Section six features the TV game for the day. Well, maybe not quite TV, but Bowls Tasmania will be live streaming one male and one female game from the Pairs and Singles. That game will see the defending champions Rodney Horton & Greg Douce take on Josh Mabb & David Genford. Genford has been in the Pairs final twice but Douce and Horton have shown that they can actually win it, and will go in as favourites. These two teams won’t have the section their own way, the Dover RSL pairing of Brad Carver & Jarrah Allan are always there about as are Ben Fidler & Tristan Bakes. You can’t go against the defending champions. Selection – G Douce.
Section seven is wide open with no obvious candidates to advance. I think I favour Miles Baker and Wayne Ogden who will be playing at home with their strongest opposition coming from Invermay pairing of Shane Boden & Mark Illingworth. Selection – W Ogden
Section eight is a cracker of a section. Last year’s runner up, Daniel Baker & Michael Sims should feature strongly but you also have Phil Mundy & Chris Dudman plus rinks skipped by Gene Ayton & Matthew Jackson. There will be no easy games in that one. I think the consistency of Dudman will be enough to carry Mundy over the line. Selection – C Dudman.
Section nine could be decided in the first round of matches with the winner of David Douce & Tim Douce, previous champions, and Peter Zoon & Aaron Page taking a decisive lead in the section. That should be a game to watch for any of the neutral supporters. I’m only going to select Tim Douce based on his home ground advantage. Selection – T Douce.
Section ten could prove interesting with Alan Gamble taking the place of Andrew Whitmore, leading for Brodie Baker, should go in as favourites. Josh Walker-Davis will be confident that he could win the section and will be out to show the youngsters can match it with anyone. Could we see John Bowerman return to the glory days and take the section out? I can’t go past Baker. Selection – B Baker.
Section eleven again features two strong teams clashing in round one. Nick Suttie & Darren Monks from Rosny Park take on Justin Morris & Simon Zaporozec from Cressy. ‘Chicken’ Monks is only coming up for the one event so I think he’ll be focussed and will be too strong for the Cressy duo. Don’t write off the Dover RSL duo of Clinton Seabourne & Chris Norris, but I’ll pick the Rosny combination. Selection – D Monks
With the fours now complete, not many of my selections got through, so the 11 picks above could be the kiss of death, so I apologise to all of those players! Five teams will progress as the lucky losers to complete the field of 16 in the post sectional play. Good luck to all bowlers