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Bowls In Focus : January 2011
14 Bowls In Focus Well-known Berwick stalwarts Alan Thompson and Jack Edwards reached the pinnacle of their distinguished careers last month when they won the Legacy Victorian Over-60 Men’s Pairs title at Colac City Bowls Club. They combined brilliantly to defeat the high profile Altona duo of Gary Matheson and Mick Mather 14-9 in a crowd pleasing 15-end final to lift the coveted Sir Dallas Brooks Trophy as champions. Although many pundits believe it is the Berwick club’s first ever men’s Victorian title, it is a second state honour for Edwards, who led for the legendary Ken Mackenzie when his Burden Park rink clinched the 1996 fours title. With Edwards providing a solid platform from the lead position and Thompson applying the finishing touches at the other end, the Berwick men shot to a 7-1 lead after six before the Altona pair staged a revival over the next four to loom at 7-8 with 10 ends registered. But it was the ensuing four rotations that paved the Wickers way to victory when they added a single, a two and a treble, while only conceding just one, to be virtually unassailable at 14-8 with one end to play. And despite the best efforts of Matheson and Mather, which included killing the last end and a subsequent replay, they could only manage a single, which saw them fall five short. The Berwick triumph was no surprise to spectators who enjoyed the championship’s two days at green- side. In the opening round on day one they thrashed Wodonga’s Paul Carey and David Christie, who many good judges expected to be visible in the finals; then scored 12 shots to five in the second half of their round two encounter with Chirnside Park’s Wally Tilbury and Peter Twomey to emerge comfortable winners. In their semi final clash against sentimental favou- rites Max Cobb and Ray ‘Shorty’ Hicks from Monbulk, the Berwick duo raced to a 13-4 lead after nine, but were handed a stern reality check by the mountain men, who retaliated with seven shots from four ends to be just two in arrears with two to play. However, a single to Berwick and two to Cobb & Co saw the Wick- ers gain their spot in the main event with a nail-biting 14-13 scoreline. On an adjacent rink Matheson and Mather engaged in an herculean battle for the other final berth with Melbourne veterans Bill Phelan and Arnold O’Brien. The Altona pair led 7-5 after eight and 11-5 at the 11- end mark. But three consecutive scoring ends saw the Demon duo just two behind with the last end to play. And there was plenty of greenside tension when Phelan and O’Brien held two close shots on the final end, before Matheson played the shot of the champi- onship when he drove the jack into the ditch to score one and ensure a start in the final. The Colac City turf is a happy hunting ground for Matheson, who powered his way to victory in the state over-60 singles championship at the venue three years ago. In their first two rounds Matheson and Mather pow- ered to a strong win over Tocumwal’s Barry Cosgrove and Darryl Hazel, then recovered from a 7-9 deficit against Essendon’s Ron Tatti and Ron Noonan to keep the two Bombers scoreless for the remainder of the match. Certainly reputations meant nothing on day one amidst the whistling winds and arctic blasts that buf- feted the players mercilessly. Evergreen Max Cobb and his Monbulk sidekick ‘Shorty’ Hicks recovered from 4-8 down at the halfway mark against country guns Ken Hinchcliffe and Frank Logan from Ararat to clinch their opening round 14-10; then managed to outlast the fast-finishing Cohuna combination of Frank Tonn and Terry Gilmore in the second round. Down two on the card going into the last, Tonn and Gilmore were holding four or five shots when Cobb, the 75-year-old retired accountant, drew the absolute shot with his final bowl to book Monbulk into the semi finals. Earlier in the day, in a ‘Clash of the Titans’, the Cohuna duo outpointed Bundoora RSL’s Neil McRae and Lindsay Perrin in a round one clash which many people believed would have a big bearing on the championship’s outcome. Demons Bill Phelan and Arnold O’Brien also took all before them, dishing out a 20-9 thumping to Colac heroes Tom Watson and Allen Jones, then added the scalps of Greg Bouker and Ray Bezett from Dromana to their collection. On a day where collecting big counts was at a premium, the Melbourne duo showed plenty of pluck to recover from dropping a six on the opening end of their round two encounter to book a semi final showdown against traditional arch-rivals Altona. However, twenty-four hours later, when the dealing was done, it was Alan Thompson and Jack Edwards who held up the largest and most prized pairs trophy of them all. - David Allen Wickers Crowned State Champions Victorian Men’s Over-60 Pairs Championship at Colac City Bowls Club Round of 16: Chirnside Park (W Tilbury, P Twomey) d Central Wendouree (E Kosloff, C Johnson) 13-12, Berwick (A Thompson, J Edwards) d Wodonga (P Carey, D Christie) 17-4, Cohuna (F Tonn, T Gilmore) d Bundoora RSL (N McRae, L Perrin) 14-7, Monbulk (M Cobb, R Hicks) d Ararat VRI (K Hinchcliffe, F Logan) 14-10, Melbourne (W Phelan, A O’Brien) d Colac (T Watson, A Jones) 20-9, Dromana (G Bouker, R Bezett) d Inverloch (E Bott, P Shaw) 16-12, Essendon (R Tatti, R Noonan) d Edithvale (W Morton, J Clark) 12-7, Altona (G Matheson, M Mather) d Tocumwal (B Cosgrove, D Hazell) 21-11 . Quarter finals: Berwick d Chirnside Park 18-10, Monbulk d Cohuna 18-15, Melbourne d Dromana 17-14, Altona d Essendon 16-9. Semi finals: Altona d Melbourne 12-9, Berwick d Monbulk 14-13. Final: Alan Thompson and Jack Edwards (Berwick) d Gary Matheson and Mick Mather (Altona) 14-9 . • Above: Newly crowned pairs champions Jack Edwards and Alan Thompson with the Sir Dallas Brooks Trophy. • Right: Berwick skipper Alan Thompson delivers the goods at Colac City. • Below: Ageless Monbulk skipper Max Cobb delighted spectators with his fine draw bowls.