Men’s series goes down to the wire, Victorian Women seal the title
In a repeat of Day 1, the Tasmanian vs Victorian test series at the Sandy Bay Bowls Club, has seen the Men split the two tests whilst the Victorian women continued their dominance.
The Victorian Men got off to a very strong start in the 3rd test. Lee Schraner found himself down 1-9 against Matthew Flapper after 6 ends & Luke Richardson was down 1-8 against Matthew Ellul after 5 ends. The only reasonable start was Mark Nitz who played against Barrie Lester and found himself 7-7 after 7 ends. The Tasmanian team proved on Day 1 that they have the ability to overcome poor scores and they worked well together to get themselves back in the game. Nitz kept his rink close (14-13 after 16 ends), whilst Schraner was dominant picking up 15 shots over 10 ends to turn around a 8 shot deficit to a 16-11 lead after 16 ends. Richardson picked up a 5 on the 8th end and didn’t allow the opposition to pick up any big scores, also getting his nose in front, leading 15-14 after 16 ends. The scene was set for a big finish and both teams knew a 2-1 lead would give them the double chance to take the series. Richardson would lose 6 of the last 8 ends but only one of those ends was more than a single, in the end an 18-18 draw was a great recovery from such a poor start. Nitz & Scharner would be left on the green last both dropping big scores (Nitz a 5 on the 17th end & Schraner a 4 on the 19th end) but with 2 ends remaining Victoria led by 1 shot. Nitz & Schraner have been the backbone of this team for many years and both managed to pick up 2 shots on the last end to register a 2 shot win and 2-1 advantage! 3 tests and no margin bigger than 5 shots, this Men’s encounter was keeping the crowd enthralled.
The Women were out to keep the series alive with Victoria needing a win to claim the shield. Candice Hodgetts’ rink was quick out of the gates leading 11-3 after 7 ends. At the same time Victoria held the upper hand with Courtney Hobbs down 1-8 but Lyn Triffitt only trailed by 1 3-4. This was the best opportunity the Women had had and were keen to show the home crowd they could match it with the Vics. Trifitt found it difficult against Sam Shanahan but never allowed the score to blow out, going down 11-18. Hodgetts maintained her strong start against Tiffany Brodie, but neither team could pick up more than 1 shot in the last 6 ends, with Hodgetts winning 22-14. Both these two rinks had finished with the scores very close leaving Hobbs & Lisa Phillips to sort out the final result. With one end to go, Tasmania needed 3 for the win, 2 for a draw and held 3 with one bowl remaining in the match. Phillips would handle the pressure well, getting second shot, giving Victoria the test by 1 shot and wrapping up the series.
The Men headed into the afternoon knowing a win would give them the series and the back to back victories. Victoria had other ideas. Ellul won the first 5 ends against Nitz to lead 6-0, Flapper led Richardson 4-2 & Schraner got off to a very slow start with Lester leading 9-1 after 7. This was going to take another mammoth effort to get things back on track. But Tasmania did not give up easily. Nitz would win 5 of the next 6 ends and lead 8-7, Richardson would pick up a 3 on the 7th end to lead 8-7 & Schraner would start to strong ends together to be 9-11 after 13 ends. This was set up for a barn storming finish. Nitz & Ellul would trade blows over the back end of the game but a 3 to Nitz on the last end would give him the win by 2. Flapper started to pull away from Richardson at the end, winning 5 of the last 6 ends and winning 20-14. Schraner got scores back to 14-14 after 19 ends but dropped a 4 on the penultimate end and could only reply with a 3 to go down by 1. Victoria would take the test by 5 shots, another very close result. Scores are now 2-2 with everything to play for tomorrow!
After a close loss in the morning, there were hopes that our Tasmanian women could register their first win. But today it was not to be. Victoria were simply dominant and the scoreboards continued to tick over for them. Triffitt played Phillips and only managed to win 3 ends in her 5-29 loss. Hobbs also had a tough time vs Brodie, she was able to win 7 ends but it was only 7 singles whilst Brodie would pick up multiple shots 8 occasions, the score ending up 7-31. The only bright light for Tasmania was Hodgetts’ rink who overcome a 7-13 margin to fight back and lead 23-20 after 20 ends, only to lose 3 on the last end giving the Victorian team a draw, 23-23.
So, it all comes down to the 5th and final test. Our Men have been very strong over the last couple of years and will be very keen to go back to back in front of their home crowd. Our women will be out battling hard to restore some pride and avoid a whitewash. Sandy Bay Bowls Club is the place to see this last test, tomorrow morning. Let’s hope the crowd will be right behind our teams!
Nitz lost to Lester 19-21
Schraner def Flapper 22-17
Richardson drew with Ellul 18-18
Hobbs lost to Phillips 18-20
Hodgetts def Brodie 22-14
Triffitt lost to Shanahan 11-18
Nitz def Ellul 21-19
Richardson lost to Flapper 14-20
Schraner lost to Lester 17-18
Triffitt lost to Phillips 5-29
Hobbs lost to Brodie 7-31
Hodgetts drew with Shanahan 23-23
Men’s Series Tied 2-2
Women’s Series Victorian lead 4-0
By David Genford