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Bowls In Focus : March April 2011
6 Bowls In Focus In one of the most exciting grand final finishes since metropolitan premier division pennant started in 1997, defending champions Clayton made it back-to-back victories by the narrowest of margins at the Mulgrave Country Club last month. They defeated the valiant Moonee Ponds team 96-95 in the Henselite Metropolitan Premier Divi- sion grand final, which will be well remembered as a contest of two distinct halves. When the competing sides retired for afternoon tea, Clayton coveted an 18-shot lead after 58 ends in the hot, sultry conditions and looked on target to challenge last year’s 46-shot grand final demolition of the Melbourne Demons. At that stage Clayton’s Brad Martin and his team of Neil Devlin, Stan Sliwinski and Ash Rowan were leading MP’s Steve Glasson, Rober t Doody, Garry Ball and Richard Kopcewicz a merry dance at 23-10. It needs to be understood that this would be one of the best-credentialed quartets in the business, with Glasson a former world singles champion and Doody a past Australian Open winner, while Ball and Kopcewicz both have a Richmond Union Masters victory to their credit. But Mar tin and his men didn’t give too much credence to those fine achievements when they collected 17 shots to two between ends three and seven to ignite the Clayton torch. Adding insult to injury, on the next two ends Glasson held close counters with his last delivery to come, but nudged the jack just a centimetre or two on both occasions to give the shot away. On an adjacent rink Clayton coach Todd Sim- mons and his young compatriots Dylan Fisher, Rob Dixon and Liam Garlick-Adams were also in full flight and had only allowed Moonee Ponds cham- pion Mark Jacobsen and his inexperienced team of Chris Ball, Ben Hubber and Winston Brackley four scoring ends in the 15 before the tea break to covet a 13-shot lead at 21-8. More pain for Moonee Ponds, the minor pre- miers after finishing the home and away season as ladder leaders, when its rink of interstate fly-in skip- per Shane Garvey, Brett Spurr, David Mor timer and Colin Doolan trailed Clayton great Michael Wilks, Mark Challman, Mick Burge and Colin Davis by six when the bell rang. Garvey will rue his quip to Wilks, who had yet to make an impact on the match, when leading 5-1 after four. His ill-timed wisecrack; ‘you were a pretty fair player in your day’ was just the trigger the former international skipper needed to slip on his game face. Several demonstrations of Wilks wiz- ardry over the next six ends saw the Clayton score move to 12-5, then 13-7 when the break arrived. However, the Moonee Ponds side did have one rink standing sentinel in the face of impending doom with Commonwealth Games gold medalist Wayne Turley and his team of Barrie Lester, Matt McHardy and Nelson Ball running roughshod over Clayton’s Dylan Benwell, Tony Wood, Stuart Huddle and Chris Hannaford. Turley stamped his authority on the opening end when he converted the head for a count of five and was the chief contributor to his club’s overall 11-4 lead after nine. But Benwell and his men did give a yelp when they won three consecutive ends to sit at 8-12 after eleven, before Turley’s rink again raced away to be 22-8 leaders when afternoon tea arrived. On a day that encapsulated this frustrating weather-affected season and its brace of resultant washouts, torrential rain swept across the Mulgrave complex during the break and officials could be heard contemplating when the remainder might be Metropolitan Premier Division Grand Final Metropolitan Premier Division Grand Final Clayton On The Double