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Bowls In Focus : March April 2011
Bowls In Focus 13 Lisa Spearheads Victorian Medal Haul Similarly, Phillips ended the hopes of 2008 win- ner Katrina Wright from Sydney, the recent NSW Open winner at Wagga, in straight sets; but it was her surgical demolition of Queenslander Charlie Harkness in the semi final that served notice of her intentions. Harkness had made headlines when she eliminated the great Karen Murphy on day one then added the name of young Tasmanian international Rebecca Quail to her list of scalps on route to the final four. Conversely, Shannahan made hard work of beat- ing Queensland’s Gail Waitai in a poor standard semi final clash. In a brutally honest assessment, ABC commentator and four times world champion Ian Schuback described it as the ‘worst match’ he had witnessed in all his years of television com- mentary. In the final Phillips was irrepressible as she raced through the first set, but it was in the second, after Shannahan had hit her straps, that the young Tiger bared her fangs. Down 0-6 after four ends, and 2-7 at six, Phillips collected a maximum count of four on the seventh, then dropped a single to be 6-8 down going into the last. A tiebreaker seemed a likely outcome, but the little ‘rebel’ – she’s had her share of run-ins with officialdom – isn’t one to go with the norm and proceeded to draw two superb shots under intense pressure to level the set, clinch the title and claim the $18,000 champion’s cheque. More Victorian heroics came in the form of Brighton’s Lee Schraner and Neville Rodda from Richmond Union, who staged one of the great comebacks in Open history when they stormed to victory in the men’s pairs final. The Victorians had plenty of form behind them to be worthy finalists, having disposed of three crack international teams on their way to the tented show green. In earlier rounds they defeated New Zealanders Gary Lawson and Shannon McIlroy; Queenslanders Nathan Rice and Anthony Kiepe; and Delhi representatives Brett Wilkie and Leif Selby, all I might add, in straight sets. However, in the final they faced the NSW combination of Aron Sherriff and Mark Berghofer, who carried Australia’s pairs medal hopes to India last year. And in the first set, and the opening three ends of the second, it was easy to see why when Sherriff in particular dominated proceedings as spectators began vacating their seats in the grandstand. Down a set and 0-7 after three Schraner and Rodda were gone, doomed to consecutive grand prix runner-up finishes following their second place in the NSW Open last December. But, for reasons known only to the gods of the game, the match took on a dramatic reversal of fortunes from that point onwards. A double and a single on the following two ends, backed up by an all-drawn four on the sixth leveled the scores before Sherriff drew a beauty to restore order. However, a miraculous Schraner drive on the eighth, which added four more, and a closing single secured a three-end tiebreaker for the Victorians. It was in the sudden-death decider, where big occasion pressure will often unearth cracks in the mettle of even the most experienced trundler, that the local duo imposed their will to lead 5-0 after two ends had transpired. And although the NSW pair held shot on the last, Schraner and Rodda had • Above Right: Open singles champion Lisa Phil- lips on her winning way. • Top: Smiles all round from men’s pairs champi- ons Lee Schraner and Neville Rodda. • Above: New Zealander Ali Forsyth with Victori- ans Matty Flapper and Nick McIntyre at the men’s triples presentations. • Left: Brighton star Lee Schraner was clearly the standout player in this year’s Open.• A