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Bowls In Focus : March April 2011
22 Bowls In Focus In a final that had more twists and turns than a cleverly scripted whodunit, Geoff Mitchell from Barooga Sports emerged as Victorian Men’s Over- 60 Singles champion at the Burwood Bowls Club last month. He defeated Burwood’s Rowan Sharp 21-19 in a dramatic thriller that was played out in four acts. The retired builder stole the spotlight early when he raced to an 11-2 lead after just six ends before Sharp, a retired lawyer, countered with 10 shots to two over the ensuing six. Sticking to his favoured short end policy, Mitchell again shot to centre stage when he collected seven over the next four ends to hold a seemingly insur- mountable 20-12 lead in the main event. Act four arrived when Sharp again reclaimed the mat and immediately threw a maximum length jack in a last ditch effort to capture the state champion- ship. In a classic demonstration of fine drawing Sharp collected seven well-crafted shots from the next three ends to loom at 19-20 as spectators drew breath in expectation of a fighting finale. And although it wasn’t the greatest end of the finals, it was a tension packed cameo when Sharp held two not-so -close counters before Mitchell drew the absolute shot. However when Sharp’s final attempt to dislodge Mitchell’s offending bowl slid harmlessly past its target the Barooga champion claimed the title. It was Mitchell’s first state win, while Sharp had to be content with a second successive runner-up finish in championship finals. Last season he was defeated by a single shot in the state champion of champions final at Darebin by Chalambar’s Grant Seeary, who went on to capture the national crown and will represent Australia at the world champion- ship in Hong Kong later this year. The two protagonists in the main event were easily the outstanding competitors in the field hav- ing only surrendered a total of 60 shots between them in their three matches leading to the final. In the morning semi finals Mitchell outgunned the hard-charging Kevin Deer from Keysborough after scores were tied at the 16-end mark, while Sharp, who trailed 3-6 against Altona veteran Mick Mather early in the match, hit his straps over the closing stages to record a comfor table seven-shot win. On the previous day Deer claimed strong wins over Bob Fiddes from Yarrawonga & Border Golf and Gisborne’s John Bell, while Mitchell served notice of his intentions when he kept Con Doherty from Kew Heights and Hampton’s Rob Coulson to five and six shots respectively. Sharp also stamped his authority on day one when he beat Heyfield’s Bob Mulvogue by nine and David Shaw from Brighton by twelve. Shaw had been in hot form having disposed of Mildura’s Chris Richards 21-2 in an amazing opening round blitz. But it was the great Mick Mather who stole our hearts and minds on day one. After an heroic win over the legendary Jack Allison from Heatherdale in round one, Mather trailed Cliff Cobbledick from Cobden 8-13 after 12 ends, but went on a scoring spree over the next five ends of their quarter final to claim 13 unanswered shots and promotion to the following day’s semi finals. - David Allen Victorian Over-60 Men’s Singles Championship at Burwood Bowls Club Round of 16: J Bell (Gisborne) d D Bell (War- racknabeal Golf) walkover, K Deer (Keysborough) d B Fiddes (Yarrawonga & Border Golf) 21-13, R Coulson (Hampton) d R Collins (Essendon) 21-14, G Mitchell (Barooga Sports) d C Doherty (Kew Heights) 21-5, C Cobbledick (Cobden) d W Gardiner (Rosebud CC) 21-6, M Mather (Altona) d J Allison (Heatherdale) 21-11, R Sharp (Bur- wood) d B Mulvogue (Heyfield) 21-12, D Shaw (Brighton) d C Richards (Mildura) 21-2. Quarter finals: Deer d Bell 21-12, Mitchell d Coulson 21-6, Mather d Cobbledick 21-13, Sharp d Shaw 21-9. Semi finals: Sharp d Mather 21-14, Mitchell d Deer 21-14. Final: Geoff Mitchell (Barooga Sports) d Rowan Sharp (Burwood) 21-19. Mitchell’s Senior Singles Success • Top: Runner-up Rowan Sharp and newly crowned champion Geoff Mtchelll flank Hall of Fame member Bob Middleton after the presentations. • Above: Barooga’s Geoff Mitchell on his winning way. • Left: Rowan Sharp from Burwood during the state final. • Right: Little Altona champ Mick Mather sends one away during the semi final.