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Bowls In Focus : February 2010
38 Bowls In Focus asics bowls shoes now available Coloured Bowls Trackpants and Shorts Coloured Slough Hats Coloured Polar Fleece Vests Coloured Baseball Caps Coloured Bucket Hats Call us for a quote on club orders. Coloured pants from $37, Vests from $37, hats from $13 SHOP ONLINE www.thebowlsshoppe.com.au Hang in there! There is nothing better to excite bowls spectators than watching a player come from behind and win a big match when at some stage in the game there seemed no hope of success. Too many exponents of our game never seem to achieve these memo- rable victories, but the ones that do are usually top line performers. Dur- ing 50 years in the sport I can recall a few such wins, but I can also well remember a couple of defeats but in each case they were by absolute champions. My most vivid memory is leading our recent Commonwealth Games singles gold medallist Kelvin Kerkow 19-4 many years ago in the Cool- angatta Masters - which was at one time the most prized singles event in Australia - only to watch the world renowned Queenslander play im- maculate bowls to get up and win. No excuses though as I had a number of last bowls and couldn't retrieve the position. For those spectator bowlers who have witnessed one or some of these great comebacks, the lasting memory they bring from the reversal of for- tunes is the importance of 'hanging in there' and looking to make some change, often minor, which could swing the momentum of the match. Momentum is the key word here. Often it takes only one bowl, sometimes outstanding, sometimes lucky, but it can bring about a complete change in the game. In a section-deciding round of the 1996 World Bowls Championships singles at the Lockley's Bowls Club in Adelaide, England's Tony Allcock was trailing Noel Kennedy from Hong Kong - who many people will remember for his flashy pirate's bandannas - 20-5 in a 21-up match. The late Mal Hughes, who was England's legend- ary team manager at the time cried out "Come on Tony, you can still win it," which raised a few chuckles in the crowd. On the very next end, after Kennedy had driven the jack into the ditch and held a match lie, Allcock drew to the plinth to claim the shot. Taking the mat he threw a maximum length jack, added another four, then sticking with the long ends he proceeded to win the match 21-20. Two days later Allcock was crowned world champion when he defeated Israel's Jeff Rabkin in the fi- nal. Asked about the Kennedy result, the English superstar replied, "I told myself to 'hang in there' and perhaps the tide might turn. And it did." Players in many sports start to get tense when in view of the winning post. They have obviously played bet- ter than their opponent to get into the position, and at that stage have the momentum running in their favour. But one adverse result can elevate that tenseness, and at the same time raise the confidence of the player who is behind. During the recent, and very suc- cessful, Victorian Masters Singles at Richmond Union, I was fortunate enough to observe a couple of these dramatic comebacks. One involved a player, in the early rounds, coming from what seemed an impossible position at 18-4 down only to get up and win. Actually, during a fourth round match yours truly was down 17-4 and playing badly. My opponent handed me the mat and I rolled a minimum length jack, and although losing a couple of shots along the way, I managed to level the score at 22-all. Unfortunately for me I didn't win but I did place myself in position where it was possible. The classical comeback came in the quarter-finals when the favourite - in my opinion - Rus- sell Green led fellow Melbour- nian Jason 'Bling' Saunders by a scoreline of 17-7. I'm not sure exactly what triggered the 'collapse' but Jason managed to collect 18 shots to two in the latter half of the game to get up and score a 25-19 win. Although young and hopefully fit, Russell did have to finish a game held over from the previous night and then play two full 25-up matches on the day. Knowing Russell, I am sure he would never have used the heavy schedule as an excuse and would have complimented Jason on his win. Down through the ages there have been many dramatic comeback wins and to put it simply, one player normally plays well in the first half and the other in the second half. Well, maybe it isn't quite that simple but the fact remains that you should never give up. Hang in there; fight tooth and nail, try everything you can think of (within the rules of course) and you just never know. At some stage you might play the extraordinary shot - or a lucky one - and the momentum of the game can swing, giving you the opportunity to go on and win. It certainly worked for Kelvin Kerkow, Tony Allcock and Jason Saunders. IN FOCUS • Reigning Commonwealth Games singles champion Kelvin Kerkow.
March April 2010