Victoria claim the double
The focus on the third day was very much on the Men’s decider, with both teams having won 2 of the first 4 tests. I’m not sure why but the women only played 15 ends in the Final test which also saw our Tasmanian rinks moved around to experiment for selection purposes going forward.
The Tasmanian Men got off to a very good start, which was needed as this had been a weakness in the first four tests. A 19-14 lead after 18 ends, gave the crowd some confidence that this could be achieved but the playing group already had that belief thanks to some very strong results over the last 2 and a half years. Mark Nitz’ rink got off to the best start leading 11-4 against Matthew Flapper but all rinks would be leading, Luke Richardson led 10-6 against Barrie Lester & Lee Schraner led 7-4 against Matthew Ellul. This lead continued to blossom, moving out to 13 shots after 31 ends. As the previous tests had shown, there was still a long way to go. At about ends 40-45, Victoria started to make their move. Lester tied his score up against Richardson, Whilst Schraner & Nitz both led by less than 5, the lead was down to single digits and Victoria had the momentum. 6 shots up with 13 ends to go 4 shots up with 10 ends to play and the thought of a draw being enough to retain the trophy started to enter the minds of some of the players following online.
A crucial end would see Victoria really start to take the upper hand. Ellul had a chance to remove a bowl for five shots and didn’t miss the opportunity. Victoria now led by 2 with 8 ends to go, the match could still go either way but Nitz would then drop a 4, cancelling out the three shots picked up on the other rinks and Victoria extended their lead. All three rinks would lose their next end leaving the target 8 shots in 2 ends, a tough ask against such a quality team. A 3 to Tasmania would give them some hope but a 5 on the last end didn’t eventuate, 1 shot made the difference 4. A valiant effort by our Tigers but whenever you lose by such a small number, it makes it feel like an opportunity lost.
Australian Jackaroo was very complimentary after the series had concluded. “I was very impressed with the ability of the Tasmanian team and their sportsmanship. They have a great mix of talent and youth. I though Josh Mabb was brilliant all week and if I had to mention one of our boys, Nathan Murray, who played two for me was awesome.” Lester was also impressed with the host club Sandy Bay, “The greens were true all week and the club’s hospitality has been first class all week.”
Tasmania announced their player of the series for the Men, Mark Nitz. Nitz was also kind enough to speak to me after the game. “All 12 of us busted our guts this week and the Vics had to play exceptionally well to beat us. Bowler of the series could have gone to anyone but I’m proud to have been awarded the medal and see it as a team reward. Unfortunately we lost the series but this series defeat will strengthen the bond the 12 players have leading up to our next series against ACT in February next year.”
6, 1, 2, 4 & 4, they were the margins of the 5 tests for the Men. This Victorian team have been recent winners of the Alley Shield and are a forced to be reckoned with. Our Men should leave the series with their head held high and look forward to the ACT test series that is coming up.
Our Women were unable to register a win in the 5th test but did see two of their rinks end up on the winning side. Courtney Hobb’s rink won 17-16 against Samantha Shanahan, Lyn Triffitt won 15-12 against Anne Draffen but Lisa Phillips’ 18-10 win against Candice Hodgetts consigned our Women to 5-0 series loss. The what if’s will concentrate back to that 3rd test when victory was so close but hopefully the team can harness some of the positives from the test and work with them for their upcoming series.
Congratulations to Jorja Maughan, who at 16 and making her state debut, was named player of the series.
A big thank you to Leonie Price & Trevor Docking for feeding back information to me from all of the tests. Thanks to Tasmanian supporters such as Andrew Appleyard & Keghan Booth for updating scores live from the event.
Men Vic 55 def Tasmania 51
Richardson lost to Lester 19-20
Schraner lost to Ellul 16-18
Nitz lost to Flapper 16-17
Women Vic 46 def Tasmania 42
Hobbs def Shanahan 17-16
Triffitt def Draffen 15-12
Hodgetts lost to Phillips 10-18
By David Genford