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Bowls In Focus : January 2010
6 Bowls In Focus On an afternoon, which unwrapped as a total contrast to the previous day's searing heat, the Auburn combination of Noel Waite and David Pisterman claimed victory in the Victorian Over-60 Pairs Championship at Burden Park Bowls Club last month. They defeated Rob Coulson and Simon Forbes from Hampton in a state final that was punctuated by no fewer than five rain interruptions. Coulson and Forbes were worthy adversaries in the main event, having earlier outclassed the well- fancied Victoria Ballarat duo of Noel Verlinden and Mal Tudorovic, by only allowing them four scoring ends of the scheduled 15-end semi-final. The eventual winners earned their spot in the main event with a stirring win over pre-event favou- rites Ray Morrissey and Neal Pattie from Altona in the corresponding semi-final. Without doubt the hero of this epic battle was Waite, who skipped and played brilliantly, frequently stealing the advantage away from his former clubmates as he and Pister- man marched towards the play-off. Time and again the Altona men held strong position on the head, only to see the wily Auburn skipper draw the absolute shot or convert the head to his side's benefit. Morrissey, the Altona skipper and winner of the state over-60 singles title a fortnight earlier, could only shake his head in admiration, adding: "No-one can touch him when he's in this form." However, on the fifth end of the final, with the score standing at 4-2 in Auburn's favour, Waite made one of his rare mistakes of the final series, when a weighted shot sliced the jack into a pack of opposition bowls and resulted in a loss of five. Never one to be fazed, Waite simply moved up a gear and reclaimed the lost shots, with interest, over the next three ends. From there, in between sporadic rain bursts, the veteran champion - who won the millennium Richmond Union Masters - and his faithful sidekick, combined beautifully as they marched to the win- ner's circle. And when he held the magnificent Legacy Sir Dallas Brooks Trophy aloft, the big man turned to his wide-eyed partner, smiled and declared: "Be proud mate, you're a state champion now." Despite hot windy conditions, where the mercury almost reached the 'no-go' zone, play in day one's opening rounds was of an exceptional standard. Spectators who braved the elements were treated to outstanding draw bowls and several nail- biting finishes. None was better than the round one encounter where Morrissey and Pattie defeated Burden Park's Keith Ronaldson and Ray Gaunt, when scores were deadlocked coming into the final end. Then, after trailing early in their second round match against Melbourne's Bill Phelan and Bob Fiddes, Morrissey and Pattie claimed consecutive counts of seven and three to assume the lead and were never headed. Morrissey, fresh from victory in the singles title at City of Frankston was on track to claim a unique double. However, he and Pattie had to overcome Waite and Pisterman in the semi-final if the dream was to become a reality. Ironically, Waite and Morrissey played together in the same Victorian rink at the recent Senior Inter- state Round Robin in Tasmania, so the match was sure to be a cracking affair. On day one the Auburn duo had to pull out all stops in their opening round match against Chris Preddy and Rob Anset from Kyabram, after being 8-12 down with four to play, but managed to get home by three. However, in the afternoon quarter-final Waite and Pisterman caught an early bonus when they collected a seven on the first end against the Warrnambool combination of Vince Moloney and Brian Scott from City Memorial. Pundits will remember Moloney and clubmate Peter Pangrazio winning the open state pairs title two years ago at Shepparton Park. But the first day was Waite's, as the great war- horse, who clearly revelled in the conditions and swift-paced green, played vintage bowls to guide his team into the semi-finals. Coulson and Forbes also had a great time, winning their opening match against Nyah District's Terry Pearse and Noel Featherby comfortably; then breaking clear from Corowa's Frank Seaton and Peter Rich in the closing stages of their tightly- fought quarter-final, to book a final four position. Their opponents were to be Verlinden and Tudo- rovic, who survived a late round one charge from Drouin's John Leighton and Noel Jensz, after lead- ing 15-4; then bolted out of the blocks against Greg Bouker and Mike Whitty from Dromana to lead 15-2 after eight, before coasting home 17-8 winners. - David Allen Sir Dallas Brooks Trophy Auburn duo's state title triumph • Above: Big Noel Waite dominated proceedings at Burden Park. • Left: Hampton's Rob Coulson in action during the main event. • Below: Seasoned Altona lead Neal Pattie was outstanding in the play-offs.