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Bowls In Focus : February 2010
Bowls In Focus 17 "This is the title I sincerely wanted to win. It's a 'Boys Own' dream," said Kopcewicz, who couldn't wipe the huge grin off his face. And win it in style he did. Kopcewicz believes mental toughness is the key ingredient in singles success, and he clearly had kilograms of it on board for the final on Richmond Union's one-year-old tift dwarf green. His 26-year-old opponent Jason Saunders from Melbourne played most of his bowls as a Tiger and the homecoming hero had massive crowd support. Unfortunately it wasn't enough, as the final 25-10 scoreline indicates. Kopcewicz drew like a mustard poultice and his younger opponent rarely was able to get his attacking bowls to hit the required target. Af- ter trailing 5-9 at eight ends, the match was all over 11 ends later as Kopcewicz constantly increased the pressure with bowls in the head. Kopcewicz plonked his credentials on the table in the earlier semi-final when he steamrolled Bendigo's Geoff Briggs 25-10 in only 18 ends. Saunders reached the showpiece shootout with a slightly longer 25-19 win over Melbourne clubmate Brian Richards, who was Masters champion a decade earlier. That final four encounter lasted 31 ends. There was a constant theme at RUBC this year; right from the time Turbulent Tuesday dawned in a blaze of wispy summer clouds. It seemed that no sooner the F-word was spoken it was directly followed by the U-word - the Favourite then became the central figure in an Upset. The punters had pounded the plastic hard the previous night at the Calcutta dinner, throwing up Malaysian world champion Safuan Said as the popu- lar elect with Australian representative Nathan Rice the second favourite followed in the pecking order by Malaysian Fairul Izwan, exciting Sydney youngster Matt Pietersen and home club hero Neville Rodda. There was the first thud in the morning third round when Safuan fell 25-23 to the accomplished Briggs. Shortly afterwards his compatriot tripped up at the hands of Richards, losing 25-16. The fourth round on Tuesday afternoon then put paid to Rice's ambi- tions, outplayed 25-24 by defending Victorian singles champion Craig McCarron. If the role of favourite rested safely on Pietersen's shoulders, then the fifth round clash with Kopcewicz quickly dashed that plan for the 20-year-old St Johns Park bowler. The Melburnian won 25-18. Rodda found the combined weight of favourite and home club expectations a tad too heavy, and he was bundled out in a quarter-final by the giantkilling Kopcewicz. He lost 25-23 after holding match. • Left: Masters finalists Jason Saunders and Richard Kopcewicz with Richmond Union president Trevor Walker. • Below Left: Big Richard Kopcewicz on his winning way in the Victorian Masters Singles Championship. • Above: Melbourne's Jason 'Bling' Saunders made an heroic return to Richmond Union. • Below: Geoff Briggs from Bendigo played superbly to reach the final four and beat the world number one along the way. • Right: Former winner Brian Richards proved a formidable contender in this year's Masters. Victorian Masters Singles Championship at Richmond Union Bowling Club Round of 32: B Burnett (Newstead) d D Barry (Bundoora RSL) 25-17, R Kopcewicz (Moonee Ponds) d P Beanland (Burwood) 25-5, G Briggs (Bendigo) d M Stoney (Kew Heights) 25-10, N Brown (Yarraville Footscray) d I Ross (Bendigo) 25-11, P Gawthorne (Brighton) d D Simmons (Yarra Glen) 25-24, S Sheaf (Fitzroy Victoria) d P Gerty (Richmond Union) 25-14, R Green (Melbourne) d D Milner (Yarra Glen) 25-17, M Pietersen (St Johns Park NSW) d I Feder (Kew Heights) 25-11, C McCarron (Melbourne) d N Rice (Helensvale Qld) 25-24, N Rodda (Rich- mond Union) d R Baker (Sebastopol) 25-20, S Sliwinski (Clayton) d J Snell (Lakes Entrance) 25-22, J Saunders (Melbourne) d G Taylor (Lalor) 25-9, B West (Lancefield) d A Alexandrou (Main Ridge) 25-19, G Clements (Mansfield) d M Williams (Shepparton Golf) 25-22, B Richards (Melbourne) d A Wilson (Essendon) 25-20, R Sharp (North Balwyn) d J Dixon (City Of Croy- don) 25-16. Round of 16: Sliwinski d Sheaf 25-21, Richards d West 25-7, Kopcewicz d Pietersen 25-18, Clements d Brown 25-26, Rodda d Gawthorne 25-22, Green d McCarron 25-9, Briggs d Sharp 25-18, Saunders d Burnett 25-10. Quarter finals: Richards d Clements 25-18, Saunders d Green 25-19, Briggs d Sliwinski 25- 20, Kopcewicz d Rodda 25-23. Semi finals: Saunders d Richards 25-19, Kop- cewicz d Briggs 25-10. Final: Richard Kopcewicz (Moonee Ponds) d Jason Saunders (Melbourne) 25-10
March April 2010