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Bowls In Focus : February 2011
18 Bowls In Focus Two major sporting events dominate the headlines in Warrnambool over the week surrounding Australia Day each year and both attract contenders from all points of the compass to the beautiful seaside city for a shot at stardom. One is the dirt track sprintcars, those 900-horsepow- er winged monsters that scream and pitch sideways around the floodlit quarter-mile clay track at Premier Speedway in the famed Grand Annual Sprintcar Clas- sic. It’s jaw-dropping, the most compelling animal act on four wheels. In total contrast, the Australia Day Pairs Classic for lady bowlers hardly registers on a decibel meter, save for the click of wicking woods and applause to acknowl- edge a shot well played. However, both are competitions of significant rel- evance to the sports-mad folk of the southwest and the locals say they can’t get enough of either. The Bendigo Bank sponsored pairs event last month was the twelfth since its inception and it con- tinues its proud reputation as one of the state’s most esteemed competitions. Each year 32 top class teams are invited to ply their craft at the stately Warrnambool Bowls Club, where a stand of majestic Norfolk Pine trees is the finishing touch to a tranquil landscape. But don’t be lulled into a false sense of security, the club’s two synthetic greens are testy and unforgiving, while being just a long-end or two from the Southern Ocean ensures that offshore breezes are a factor. At times those ‘breezes’ can roar in from the sea like a banshee to test the skill and resolve of even the most accomplished bowler. Nevertheless, every year the field at this tourna- ment reads like a ‘Who’s Who’ of the game, and this time around was no different when five internationals, 19 current or former state players and the winners of six world crowns, 23 state championships and seven national titles arrived for the Classic. And in a polished display Victorian state rinkmates Joyce Lindores and Kellie Bowles came through the five 15-end rounds undefeated to claim victory and the $2000 winner’s purse. Bowles, who leads for Lindores in the Victorian interstate side, became the toast of Warrnambool as the first player from the host club to win the blue ribbon event in its history, while the Clayton star and reigning Australian Open singles titleholder added this to her victory in the previous week’s state triples final. However, it wasn’t all smooth sailing for the newly crowned champions, who were seven shots in arrears with five ends to play in the opening round before Lady Luck intervened. A misdirected drive that cannoned off a short bowl and resulted in a count of four, set the vic- tory train in motion as Lindores and Bowles embarked on a scoring sequence of five, three, three and two to emerge with an unlikely 10-shot victory. From there they were unstoppable. ‘We’re thrilled to have won this title,” Lindores said at the presentations. “Make no mistake, this is a very hard event to win. “Kellie is a very promising young player and I have watched her develop into a quality lead over the past year or so. She played extremely well over the two days and I’m proud to have been her partner in her first big win. “This was our second attempt in this event, we finished third last year, but we didn’t have any form to suggest we could come through in a field of this quality. “In Wednesday afternoon’s pro-am we were outplayed by Marie Rowe and Gwen Waegli from Kangaroo Flat, who just happened to be drawn as our opponents in the final round on Friday. Thankfully we gave a better account of ourselves second time around and were able to win comfortably.” Runners-up Glenda Holt and Bronwyn McDer- mott from Bendigo East, the 2005 and 2008 state pairs champions, were the only other team to remain unscathed over the two days. What a wonderful combi- nations they are. It was terrific to see Bronwyn, who is almost fully recovered from hip surgery, back in the big time and playing beautifully. Going into the fifth and final round three teams were unbeaten, the other being rising stars Carla Odgers and Chloe Stewart from Sunbury, who surrendered an early count of six to Eildon’s Marika Armstrong and Ann Argent and eventually lost by a single shot. The result relegated the young state players, who had attracted substantial local media attention during the competition, to sixth place. Two other undefeated teams came out on the morn- ing of day two; Belmont’s Val Hardy and Carol Hannab- ury who sat in second place, along with Joy McGrath from Portland RSL and Edithvale’s Pat O’Connell who were fourth. However, both lost their two second day rounds and slid out of contention. Perennial top five finishers Margaret Sumner from Terang and Warrnambool’s Pat Boyd finished in third position with four wins and a tie, while state represen- tatives Rebecca McMahon and Hayley Miller from Colac City, with four wins, claimed fourth on shots from Daylesford’s Donna Robinson and Tania Hearn. Lindores and Bowles were overnight leaders after a sizzling first day where they took full advantage of their slice of luck then powered on to finish 38 shots-up and head a parade of five three-game-winners. All five leaders trailed Sumner and Boyd into the third round after the local stars had smashed their way • Above: Classic winners Joyce Lindores and Kellie Bowles. • Right: Winning lead Kellie Bowles in action during the fifth round. • Below: Evergreen Glenda Holt from Bendigo East finished in second place. Classy Comrades Capture Classic
March April 2011