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Bowls In Focus : October 2009
18 Bowls In Focus The Melbour ne Demons drew first blood of the sea- son recently when its side captured the exclusive Centenary Club Challenge at Fitzroy Victoria Bowls Club. Only metropolitan clubs that are 100 years old are invited to enter a four-man team in this showdown - a medley for mat with a difference - that saw 16 of the 24 eligible centenarians send representatives along to face their peers. Ironically, the successful Melbourne club is not only the oldest in Victoria, having been founded in 1864; it is also Australia’s oldest. First contested in 1983 and hosted by the Victoria Bowls Club, the Centenary Club Challenge has been absent from the calendar since 2001, when the original hosts amalgamated with Fitzroy. However, recently appointed club bowls co-ordinator Daniel Woodrow discovered the imposing McWilliams Wines Trophy in storage over winter and decided to reinvent the competition. The trophy, a large silver and lead nugget, weigh- ing in excess of 10kg, and mounted in an impressive Rosewood and glass case, has been one of the most keenly fought inter-club icons of its time. “ I know there’s $4000 in prizemoney for the suc- cessful clubs in this event,” one competitor reflected, “ but it’s the trophy that we’re really playing for. “ Being the top club amongst the centenarians is a big deal and we’ll be going flat stick to take it back to our members.” Participating sides must declare their four in play- ing order prior to the first round of pairs, in which the skip must partner the lead, and the third partners the second. In the next round skips play with seconds, while thirds play with leads, and the third round sees skips and thirds combine, as do seconds and leads. Points and shots are accumulated during these six 100-minute matches prior to the all-important 12-end fours finale. And don’t for one moment think that this might be an event to undervalue. A quick check of the person- nel representing their clubs revealed that the state’s two pre-eminent singles players, Melbour ne’s Craig McCarron, the Victorian singles titleholder, and Lee Schraner from Brighton, who has claimed the last two RVBA Champion of Champions crowns, were highly visible on the green. Also competing were past Vic- torian Master Singles winners Ray Jansen from Kew Heights and Auburn’s Noel Waite, plus a sprinkling of well-known state representatives. At the completion of the pairs play-offs, it was the Essendon side of Matty Flapper, Peter Loe, Mark Johnston and Steve Sawyer who held the ascen- dancy, being undefeated and +82 shots; while Mel- bourne’s McCarron, Scott Mortimer, Adam Fitzgerald and Greg Crozier sat half a game in arrears - one of their pairs had a draw in the first round - but were 44 shots off the pace. In what could only be described as a dream scenar io, the Bombers and Demons were pitted against each other in the 12-end fours match, where, with only one point separating them, the winner was guaranteed the trophy and $1600 first place payout. Four other clubs were too far back to claim the major awards, but the men from Kew Heights, Fitzroy Victoria, City of Melbourne and Box Hill RSL were all positioned to battle it out for third and fourth placings. And when three vintage World War II Mustang fighter planes buzzed the Edinburgh Park venue in formation prior to the final round, some saw it as an omen that the Bombers might prevail. However, a seven on the first end followed by a scoring rampage of 13 shots to two over the ensuing six ends, saw the Demons power their way to a hand- some 23-6 victory over the hapless Essendon quartet. “T heir front end put us under enor mous pressure,” Flapper, the Essendon skipper, said after the match. “T hen Scotty and Tubby (McCarron) were able to add the finishing touches. We have no excuses, they’re this year’s champions fair and square.” Melbour ne’s victory was its third in the event’s history, having previously won in 1995 and 1999, while two other centenarians, the now defunct Carlton club (1983, ‘84, ‘88) and Victoria (1989, ‘93 and 2001) have also chalked up three wins. The Essendon club has one success to its credit, having won the coveted McWilliams Trophy in 1987. - David Allen • Top: Fitzroy Victoria president Norm Boreham presents the coveted McWilliams Trophy to Melbourne’s Craig Mc- Carron, Scott Mortimer, Adam Fitzgerald and Greg Crozier. • Above: Young Demon Scott Mortimer in action during the deciding fours match. • Above Right: Former state masters champion Noel Waite represented Auburn at Fitzroy Victoria. Demons Draw First Blood 2009 Centenary Club Challenge at Fitzroy Victoria Bowls Club 1st Melbourne (1864) 13 points +55 shots, 2nd Essendon (1886) 12 +65, 3rd Kew Heights (1880) 10 +38, 4th Fitzroy Victoria (1876) 10 +35, 5th City of Melbourne (1866) 10 +25, 6th Armadale (1888) 9 +9, 7th Mentone (1902) 8 +13, 8th Box Hill RSL (1903) 8 -14, 9th Auburn (1886) 7 +8, 10th Flemington Kensington (1892) 6 -3, 11th Brighton (1881) 5 -5, 12th Moonee Ponds (1891) 5 -18, 13th Thornbury (1908) 4 -28, 14th Williamstown (1880) 3 -65, 15th Lilydale (1898) 2 -13, 16th Princes Park (1889) 0 -97 .
August September 2009