State Fours Preview
Today sees the next segment of the State Championships Gala Week. This time the focus is on the Fours, Pairs and Singles with opportunities for people to play in B Grade events for the first time. Saturday the 7th of March sees the Men’s Fours taking place at South Burnie & the Women’s Fours at Burnie. There should be some great bowls taking place and they will be well worth a watch.
Over the past few seasons I have tried my hand at predicting the winners of the Championships and will once again do so this year. I usually hit just over 50% which either shows I have no idea what I am talking about or highlights the fact how difficult it is to win your section, even for the players considered better than others. My preview may be a little shorter than normal as I’m heading off to Melbourne for the weekend but let’s see how we go.
Six sections of four will meet on Day 1, with the six section winners and two lucky losers advancing to the quarter finals.
Great section to get things under way. Aaron Page brings with him a strong team which could see Chris Roach leading or playing two coming up against the Burnie boys with Patrick Smith at the helm. The other two teams see the South’s leading skip Will Coad taking on a team that could see anyone of the players skip in Douce’s T & G, Summers & Turner. You would guess that Greg would be skipping and this game could really set the tone for the section. This could be the toughest selection of the day but I’ll pick Douce to just get over the line.
The next section doesn’t quite have the name players of section 1, giving a golden opportunity for each team to win their section. I think the fancied team would have to be the three Brown’s who team up with Cameron Griffiths. The Frost/Lowery/Stagg/Watts combination could be their main opponents but I think Griffiths and co will be too strong.
I must admit section 3 features a lot of names that I’ve not seen in the post sectional play of State Championships but I will be following closely to see who gets the points on the board to take the win. The Dover team travelling up featuring the experienced Chris Norris will be keen to play on into Day 2 and I think they should have the strength to do so.
Section 4 looks almost as strong as Section 1 with some very strong teams having been assembled. The Sims brothers will team up with Dudman & Mundy whilst the Baker brothers team up with Jackson & Thomas. This opening game could be worthy of the Final on paper! You then add to these two teams the Appleyards playing with J Brown & R Richardson and the Penguin Pairs champions in Willcox & Moore playing with Lee & Carver. Any team could win this section and they should all know they are in for three tough games. I’ll pick the Sims team to just get over the line on the strength from Dudman who will probably lead or play two and will be consistent all day.
The strongest team on paper in Section 5 sees the South and North combine with Keghan Booth & Isaac Maughan teaming up with Josh Walker-Davis & David Minns. Can the North/South divide be overcome? I think so. Their toughest game will probably come from Cashion/Claridge/Hinkley/Jenkins who always seems to put some good bowls down in sectional play, Hinkley coming off a win in the Over 60 Pairs. I’ll stick with the Booth team, their depth in the rink is simply too strong.
The first round in Section 6 could decide the winner of the section with Josh Tyrrell’s team taking on Peter Bannister. They are both playing with some quality team mates but I think Bannister having Steve Graf & Connor Munnings, two very strong draw bowlers should see them get over the line. I love seeing family playing together and this section sees Marshall x4, I hope they are all related and we don’t see any family squabbles about who plays where!
The Women will see five sections crown five section winners and three lucky losers who will play in the Quarter Finals on Sunday.
Section 1 has a bye and also possibly the game of the round. Rae Simpson will take on Candice Ayton and both players have come in strong with their teams. I think Ayton’s three of Deb Lee, Jess McMullen & Kim Saunders should be too strong and could by all means go all the way through to the final.
Some good teams will clash in this section with Kelly Mundy & Sonia Martyn just having the better of the four sides. They will play each other in the first game with Mundy teaming up with youngsters Jorja Maughan & Lauren Banks, who will both be keen to play well at this level once again. I’ll tip Mundy to take the section but be careful of the Beavis/Hodgetts/Lockhart/Thow team who could provide an upset or two during the day.
Another section with a Bye and on paper the first match should decide the section. Lyn Triffitt’s team of Gibson/Suttie/Zoon has quality written all over it and their main opponents in Barlow/Hinkley/Page/Tanner will be very competitive but their success could depend on the order they choose to play in. I’ll take Triffitt to get over the line in this one.
This section looks like it could produce a team that could put some pressure on the more fancied teams once they get out of the section. So the big question is, who will that be? Dee Harman’s team of King/Venn/Winley jumps out at me first but a team like Gurr/Lane/Monson/Strochnetter shouldn’t be overlooked without any thought. I’ll stick with my first impression and go with the Gurr team to take the win.
The third section to have a Bye and probably the toughest to pick a winner. When you see a team with Beaumont & Reeve in it, you know they will be close to taking it out, but any team with Elsworthy in it must also be put in to the reckoning. I’ll just go with the Beaumont team but it could even be the third team of Dargavel/Franklin/Healey & Williamson that prove me wrong!
Good Luck to all players!