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Bowls In Focus : January 2010
12 Bowls In Focus With a devastating four-end charge over the closing stages Werribee RSL's Dane McKinnon powered to victory in the recent Henselite Victorian Under-18 Singles Championship at the Clayton Bowls Club. After a tightly contested first seven ends, which saw the scores tied at 6-6, the 15-year-old McKillop College student moved up a gear to defeat Eaglehawk's Brayden Byrne in the championship final. McKinnon snared a double and a single on the ensuing two ends against Byrne, 17, who studies at the Bendigo Regional Institute of TAFE, to lead 9-6, then went on a scoring rampage which saw him collect four successive counts of three to claim the championship in emphatic style. Ironically, both finalists have been outstanding junior footballers, McKin- non having won a best and fairest award at Wyndham Vale two years ago, while Byrne is a former sharpshooting full-forward, having kicked 60 goals to be second on the Bendigo association goalkicking table in the same year. McKinnon's conquest was a sig- nificant event in his blossoming bowls career, erasing the memory of his loss in last year's final, when he was on the receiving end of a thumping from Bendigo's Aaron Wilson. The young Werribee RSL premier division pennant player was a pivotal member of the Victorian side that won the Australian Junior Fours Champion- ship at Halekulani in October, and has carried on the form. Perhaps the only time he was in serious peril at Clayton was in the first knockout round, when his opponent was Moonee Valley's Mathew Rennex, who skipped the winning quartet at the nationals. Rennex bounced out to a 10-0 lead, before McKinnon reeled him in and went on to win the match 21-18. In the quarter-finals McKinnon met another of his rinkmates from Haleku- lani, Webbcona's Ben McArthur, who had ousted favourite Dylan Fisher from Clayton in the round of 16. However, on this occasion, McKinnon was far too accomplished for McArthur winning 21-8. In a topsy-turvy semi-final McKinnon and Strathmore's James Federico swapped shots for the duration of the match's 24 ends, and McKinnon actu- ally trailed 19-20 before claiming a two to book his place in the main event. Young Byrne, who leads for former interstate skipper Phil Godkin in Eagle- hawk's top pennant side, was a worthy adversary in the final. His journey to the championship play-off saw him claim the scalps of Tanner Dickson-Arthur from the Avenue, Sunbury's Ben Fearn, Bryce Young also from the Avenue and Lilydale's Luke Lamont. However, in the biggest match of his short career the young man from the goldfields came up against an opponent who was most definitely on a mission. - David Allen • Above: RVBA junior chairman Geoff Burt presents the coveted Henselite trophy to newly crowned champion Dane McKinnon. • Left: Werribee RSL teenager Dane McKinnon in action during the state final. • Right: Brayden Byrne from Eaglehawk played fine bowls to reach the championship play-off. Victorian Under-18 Singles Championship at Clayton Bowls Club Round of 16: James Robertson (Warracknabeal) d Brendan Gallagher (Auburn) 21-18, Luke Lamont (Lilydale) d Kyle Crawford (Bayswater) 21-8, Brayden Byrne (Eaglehawk) d Ben Fearn (Sunbury) 21-12, Bryce Young (Avenue) d Joshua Rudd (Wodonga) 21-14, Clint Shields (Balranald) d Jack O'Dowd (Colac City) 21-14, James Federico (Strathmore) d Nathan Wilson (Bendigo) 21-12, Dane McKinnon (Werribee RSL) d Lachlan Wood (Ballarat) 21-8, Ben McArthur (Webbcona) d Dylan Fisher (Clayton) 21-19. Quarter finals: Lamont d Robertson 21-19, Byrne d Young 21-17, Federico d Shields 21-11, McKinnon d McArthur 21-8. Semi finals: Byrne d Lamont 21-17, McKinnon d Federico 21-20. Final: Dane McKinnon (Werribee RSL) d Brayden Byrne (Eaglehawk) 21-6. S t Victory For