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Bowls In Focus : February 2011
Bowls In Focus 9 City of Echuca starlet Melissa Roberts, with just four years of serious bowls deposited in her experience bank, rocked the establishment last month when she powered to victory in the Victorian Women’s Singles Championship at Yarraville Footscray. In the final she was far too consistent for Warrackna- beal’s Abundia ‘Jing’ Robertson as she sprinted to an emphatic 25-11 victory and justifies having her name etched on the Joyce Larkin Shield alongside many other great champions. Roberts, whose shot selection rarely strayed from her pet backhand draw, raced to a 10-2 lead after seven ends, and apart from a small bump when she conceded shots in four ends out of five midway through the final, was never really threatened. There was a sad irony to this encounter with the knowledge that the finalists actually had a soggy greet- ing waiting when they returned to their flood-affected homes, however they were both inspirational and surprisingly upbeat at the post-match presentations. No one could deny the performance of Roberts, a former tearaway fast-bowler for the Frankston Ladies Cricket Club in the mid-eighties. And here’s one for the trivia buffs - Melissa is the all-time winningest con- testant on the ‘Wheel of Fortune’ game show, having lasted 10 or 11 nights, she can’t remember exactly. But there was no luck involved in the Roberts march to the state final over the two days. She did it the hard way disposing of three opponents who have worn the distinctive Victorian interstate livery on the journey. In her semi final encounter with experienced state skipper Gayle Edwards from Keilor, Roberts recovered from a 10-12 deficit at the 18-end mark to run out a convincing 25-13 winner just ten rotations later. And on the first day Melissa was equally impres- sive when she eliminated former state squad member Laura Grayden from Glen Eira McKinnon in the opening round, then annexed it with a confident 25-19 disposal of former champion Robyn Thomassen from Grangeburn. Thomassen, who recently completed her 100th state appearance, is no stranger to the Yarraville Footscray greens, having won the 2009 title at the Francis Street complex. The amiable Robertson won her way into the main event with a spirited semi final victory over singles specialist Jean Sprague from Rushworth, the 2004 state champion of champions. On day one she had her hands full with Club Mulwala’s Laureen Smith, but managed to emerge with a gritty 25-24 quarter final win, while in her opening round match against Burden Park’s diminutive Aileen Brown, she gave notice of her intentions when she raced to a 12-0 lead after five ends. Sprague, who spent some time on the sidelines a year or so ago through illness, showed she has lost none of her class when she recovered from a nine- shot deficit against Queenscliff’s Jan Walter to win the opening round, then played brilliantly to eliminate pocket-sized Rosebud dynamo Sandra McColgan in the quarter finals. Similarly, Edwards, the most capped of the current crop of state players, overcame Sale’s Lucy Dalli in the opening round before clawing her way to victory in a thrilling battle with Central Wendouree champion Kay Geddes in the quarter finals. However, on day two, the business end of the championship, Roberts, who had no problem ripping quick short deliveries into the rib cage of opposing bat- ters in her cricket days, simply dominated. The score sheet, which tallied 50-24 for the day against super op- position, stamped the athletic young star as Victoria’s newest ‘Queen of the Green’. - David Allen Victorian Women’s Singles Championship at Yarraville Footscray Bowls Club Round of 16: K Geddes (Central Wendouree) d M Norton (Ivanhoe) 25-13, G Edwards (Keilor) d L Dalli (Sale) 25-18, R Thomassen (Grangeburn) d J Osborne (Mildura) 25-23, M Roberts (City of Echuca) d L Grayden (Glen Eira McKinnon) 25-21, L Smith (Club Mulwala) d P Wood (Clayton) 25-24, A Robertson (Warracknabeal) d A Brown (Burden Park) 25-13, S McColgan (Rosebud) d P Taylor (Blackburn) 25-12, J Sprague (Rushworth) d J Walter (Queenscliff) 25-21. Quarter finals: Edwards d Geddes 25-20, Roberts d Thomassen 25-19, Robertson d Smith 25-24, Sprague d McColgan 25-15 . Semi finals: Robertson d Sprague 25-19, Roberts d Edwards 25-13. Final: Melissa Roberts (City of Echuca) d Abundia Robertson (Warracknabeal) 25-11 . • Above: State president Graeme Hosken presents the Joyce Larkin Shield to newly crowned champion Melissa Roberts. • Below: Echuca’s Melissa Roberts victory bound at Yarraville Footscray. • Right: Abundia ‘Jing’ Robertson in action during the state final. Is New Queen
March April 2011