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Bowls In Focus : August September 2010
16 Bowls In Focus The champagne times of former Victorian junior star Brett Wilkie rolled on at the Tweed Heads indoor bowls stadium last month when he added the Australian Indoor Singles Championship to his bulging list of accomplishments. Wilkie, who cut his bowling teeth at Ballarat’s Webbcona club, but is now based on the Gold Coast, defeated lanky Queenslander Jamie Ander- son to claim the title. You will read elsewhere in this edition that only a fortnight earlier Wilkie clinched the prestigious Golden Nugget Invitation Singles at Tweed Heads, while a month prior to that he received news of his selection in the national team for next month’s Commonwealth Games in India. The Wilkie powertrain gained momentum last year when the quietly spoken bowls co-ordinator at Club Helensvale claimed the Australian Open singles title at Shepparton Park and annexed it by powering to victory in the World Champion of Champions at Ayr in Scotland. Another former Australian Open singles winner Katrina Wright, from Sydney’s powerful St Johns Park club, joined Wilkie in an select group who have won both the national outdoor and indoor singles titles when she defeated fellow NSW state player Arleen Jeffery from Merrylands in the women’s final. Both newly crowned champions now have their names etched in history alongside Queensland’s Ian Schuback and Dennis Katunarich from West Australia, who both completed the feat last century, while more recently Katrina’s clubmate Leif Selby captured the unique double in 2008, the same year as her Open win. To be brutally honest, the women’s final was not of the exceptional standard to which greenside spectators and the massive television audience has become accustomed. Nevertheless, it was a grand battle with Wright playing a brilliant conver- sion shot when staring defeat in the face on the last end of the tiebreak to win. Affectionately known as ‘wizard’, Wilkie closed the curtain on this year’s championship with a typi- cally classy performance in the main event. After drawing the first set against the affable Anderson, who would not look out of place in a Brisbane Lions guernsey, Wilkie dominated the second on route to the title and his second $6000 winner’s purse in as many weeks. Victory in this event has earned Wilkie and Wright the honour of being Australia’s represen- tatives in next year’s World Cup Indoor Singles Championship at Warilla from 12-20 April. Much interest at the outset surrounded the Vic- torian contenders who, despite the fact that bowls down south was still in winter dormancy, made the trip nor th for their tilt at the stardom and stature that success in a national championship attracts. However, from an initial fighting force of fifteen only three managed to survive day one’s opening round matches, being internationals Barrie Lester from Moonee Ponds, Keilor’s Carla Odgers, and Joyce Lindores from Clayton, who all progressed to the second day of competition with straight-sets victories. Lester defeated South Australian Steve Grant from Somerton 9-6 8 -4, Odgers overcame North Sydney’s Marie Moorhouse 8-4 10-4 and Lindores claimed a 9-6 8 -4 victory over Tasmanian Kaye Coomber from Kings Meadow. Saddest loss of the dozen Vics who exited in the early stages was Clayton’s Todd Simmons, a semi finalist in 2008 and last year’s runner-up. After watching their charge come from behind to win the first set, the large Victorian supporter group had visions of the Clayton ace going the extra step this time around. However, an indifferent second set saw Sim- mons forced into a three-end tiebreak against Brendon Baker from Raymond Terrace in the NSW Hunter Valley, which he lost 1-3 . Apparently, Baker’s biggest claim to fame prior to his disposal of one of the top championship fancies was that in his teens he dated international beauty queen Jennifer Hawkins for a short while. Mind you, he did work his way into the final four at Tweed Heads so he is obviously no slouch at this caper either. After a promising first set win Deer Park’s Michael Parravicini lost to South Australian state player Gary Thompson, while Sebastopol’s Rob Baker suffered a similar fate at the hands of East Cessnock’s Simon Mitchell. Chad Muir from Mornington fought hard to tie the second set against Russell Bates from WA’s Warnbro club, but his loss in the first nine-ender saw him eliminated, while Vermont South’s gritty Oska Setyana performed considerably better than his losing scoreline to eventual finalist Jamie Anderson from Capalaba might suggest. And what about Monbulk’s evergreen Max • Top: Newly crowned champions Brett Wilkie and Katrina Wright join an exclusive group of dual national title winners. • Above: Victorians at the Nationals: (Back Row) Max Cobb, Chad Muir, Mark Stanaway, Michael Parravicini, Mathew Rennex, Rob Baker, Todd Simmons. (Middle Row) Lanni Pham, Joyce Lindores, Carla Odgers, Eileen Gillett, Tara Ferrier. (Front Row) Barrie Lester, Nigel Cowdery, Oska Setyana. Indoor crowns for Wizard and Saint
June July 2010