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Bowls In Focus : Bowls In Focus May 2010
12 Bowls In Focus New Champ Is No Chump Stawell slaughterman Grant Seeary is the toast of the Wimmera after clinching the blue ribbon Victorian Champion of Champions title at Darebin City Bowls Club last month. Representing Ararat’s Chalambar club, Seeary defeated North Balwyn’s Rowan Sharp 25-24 in the final after scores were tied at 24-all from 30 closely fought ends. Early in the match Seeary was struggling against the classy Sharp - whose practice regime would send most professional athletes into a tailspin - and trailed 7-13 when 13 ends had been registered. But he fought back to draw level at 14-14 five ends later, and from that point onwards fortunes for both protagonists fluctuated as the swirling winds and quicker paced greens played their hand. Scores were level at 22-all after 28, then 24-24 two ends later, before Seeary drew the ultimate shot into the wind towards the packed grandstand. In tr ue Shane Crawford style he bellowed: ‘That’s what I’m talking about!’ as the crowded spectator terrace acclaimed the new champion. Seeary is Chalambar’s first state title winner, al- though clubmate Chris Young won this title in 1991 and the state singles in 1990, while at another club. Earlier in the day Sharp took just 14 ends to eliminate Traralgon’s Ross Sizeland in a semi final and book his berth in the main event. It was Sizeland who took out two of the championship’s biggest names on day one. However, the big Gippslander was unable to reproduce that stunning form and only managed to score on three ends as Sharp raced to a 25-5 victory. In contrast Seeary had his hands full with Clayton’s Neil Devlin in the other semi final. At one stage he trailed Devlin, who cut his bowls teeth on the damp greens of Scotland, 5-16 after 11 ends before a full count of four on the 12th got him going. “I just had to stick to what I know, keep applying pressure and hope for the best,” he said. Six scor- ing ends over the next eight saw the Chalambar champion hit the lead at 20-18 after 21. And when Devlin hit back to lead 23-22 after 25-ends, Seeary showed his potential by drawing three close shots to gain entry into the state final. At the conclusion of the first day four contenders remained in the hunt for the state’s oldest and most prestigious singles title. And with no disrespect in- tended to any of the survivors, they are unheralded in comparison to the household names that disap- peared in a day of shock results. Main offender in the carnage was Traralgon secondary school teacher Ross Sizeland. In the opening round he eliminated Werribee RSL’s Brett Dodd, who had stor med to victory in the state singles championship on the previous day, then he proceeded to dispense with Sunbury’s Graeme Bridge, the 1993 national singles champion, who had shot to favouritism with the demise of Dodd. Bendigo East’s Brad Holland, a finalist in 2008 and well supported this time was humbled by seasoned Wodonga star Ashley Bates, a for mer 100-plus game state representative in the first round also. However, in his next outing Bates himself stole defeat from the jaws of victory when he squandered a 19-10 lead against Devlin to lose by the narrowest of margins. Somerville’s Mike Stanley, who was framed as a ‘ sm okey’ in the field, easily accounted for Ocean Grove’s Michael Allen in the opening round, but failed to score after he and Sharp had reached a 9-9 scoreline in the quarter finals. And what about Seeary? In the first round he outplayed another hot chance, Bundoora RSL’s Nick McIntyre, by eight then gained promotion into the semi finals at the expense of Wallan’s Steve Duncan. Earlier in the day Duncan had stymied the aspirations of Gunbower’s Frank Tonn, another starter who was expected to figure in the main placings. Seeary, 45, came to Darebin City hoping not to be humiliated. Instead he exited with the biggest win of his career and will have his named engraved in gold lettering on an honour board which dates back to 1876. He and Sharp provided a thrilling display for spectators over the two days, proving they truly deserved their places in the final. It was a shame someone had to lose, but Grant Seeary proved to be a worthy winner. - L isa Phillips Echuca Side Steams To State Title Bowls Victoria’s second state title of ‘Champions Week’ was formalised last month when the City of Echuca side of Phil Thorn, Steve Cunnington, James McGillivray and Stan Glasser claimed the Victorian Fours Championship at Darebin City Bowls Club. The Echuca quartet outlasted Berwick’s Chris Fox, Alan Thompson, Peter Hodgson and Glenn Bainbridge in an 18-end final where the lead changed on many occasions. How- ever, after the scores were tied at 13-13 after 13 ends, it was the Echuca side that grabbed the momentum by collecting seven unanswered shots over the conclud- ing five ends. And when the Berwick team stood six in arrears going into the final end, their supporters would have cast their minds back to the morning’s semi finals when their charges were three down going into the last, and landed a mighty five to win against the gallant Whittlesea team of Neil Owen, John Tennant, Drew Coulthard and Ross Owen. In the other semi final the City of Echuca side gave notice of their intentions when they thumped the fine Burwood combination of Paul Beanland, Ross Lawrence, Paul Morris and Terry Rawlings to gain promotion into the main event. Again it was in the closing stages that the country side was most potent, powering from a slender 8-6 lead at the tenth to a 23-8 blow-out just eight ends later. On their way into the final four play-offs the Berwick side posted victories over Coatesville’s Mark Chall- man, Greg Blades, Christian Thornhill and Wayne Martin, then the fast finishing Karingal side of Phil Ashman, Peter Madeley, David Harrison and Lyle Tab- erner, while their opponents from Whittlesea defeated Warracknabeal Golf ’s Max Woodward, Murray Ander- son, Lindsay Smale and Noel Kearns, then annexed it with a fine display against Kevin Rowe, Graeme Cox, Mark Ryan and Trevor Emerson from Berriwillock. The City of Echuca side started its campaign with a win over Croydon’s Max Mannik, Ray Purdey, Geoff Kirk and Scott Mansan followed by a nine-shot win over a powerful Essendon four of Aaron Wilson, Jarrod Burt, Michael Hennessy and Geoff Boyd, while the Burwood rink outgunned the Werribee RSL team of Glen Sargent, Guy Robertson, Tyson Shiells and Mar- tin Shea in the opening round, then won a tight contest against the well-credentialed Wangaratta combination of Matt Muller, Willie Hall, Jim Boak and Denis Wadley. - Marnie Gregory • Below Left: Chairman Graeme Hosken with newly crowned Champion of Champions Grant Seeary. • Above: Seeary sends one towards his new found fame at Darebin. • Above: State chairman Graeme Hosken with City of Echuca’s Phil Thorn, Stan Glasser, Steve Cunnington and James McGillivray at the presentations. • Right: Winning skipper Phil Thorn delivers during the main event.
March April 2010
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