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Bowls In Focus : May 2011
8 Bowls In Focus The first leg of last month’s Bowls Victoria Champions Week at the Wangaratta Bowls Club saw Brighton’s Lee Schraner join an elite band of achievers when he captured the state singles championship. Schraner strode to victory with a display of clinical drawing, interspersed by adventurous drives in a hard-fought final against Geelong West star Nathan Bush to secure the title. It was at the 14th end of the main event, when the scores were locked on 14-14 that Schraner made his move. Over the ensuing six ends he collected nine shots to Bush’s one to establish a champion- ship-winning lead. And although Bush made a concerted push over the concluding stages, Schraner engraved his name on the trophy with a masterly conversion when leading 24-19 in what was to be the last end of the match. Schraner became the eleventh bowler of the mod- ern era to clinch career state singles and champion of champions titles; having previously won consecu- tive champion of champions finals in 2008 and 2009. Others to achieve the feat are Denis Dalton, Mal Reilly, Chris Young, Graeme Bridge, Bill Cornehls, Todd Simmons, Mark Jacobsen, Steve Sullivan, Russell Green and the legendary Bob Middleton - who has won both titles several times- and just hap- pened to be at Wangaratta as tournament director. In the earlier semi finals, Bush eclipsed Dro- mana’s Eric Sellenger, who made headlines on the first day when he eliminated defending champion and favourite Brett Dodd from Werribee RSL; while Schraner had all the answers for Burwood singles specialist Rowan Sharp. However, when the newly crowned champion re- flects on his fine win he will surely recall the almighty fightback against Edithvale great John Clark, when he appeared gone at 11-19 but was buoyed when a supporter at greenside urged; ‘I’ll back you to get 14 before he gets six’. Schraner stuck to the task and literally ground out each and every shot to literally snatch a place in the semi finals. Ironically, Bush also came from well behind in the early stages to catch, then eventually overpower Corowa’s tenacious Bill Davison to claim his start in the following day’s semi finals. Fellow semi finalist Rowan Sharp, who scored a comfortable win over former titleholder Barrie Lester from Moonee Ponds in round one, then eliminated Horsham City’s Col Morrell in a quarter final match with a nine-shot five-end finishing burst, again dem- onstrated his capacity for big occasion bowls. Last year he finished as runner-up in the state champion of champions final at Darebin, and would not have been fazed by the proposition of facing Schraner on the pristine Wangaratta turf the follow- ing morning. But it was Eric Sellenger, a former suburban cricketing legend, who provided the sensation of day one when he ousted defending champion and odds- on favourite Brett Dodd from Werribee RSL to garner the last berth in the semi finals. Sellenger was re- lentless as he raced to a 15-6 lead after seven ends, then 20-9 eight rotations later. As expected Dodd, one of the genuine superstars of Victorian bowls, came back at Sellenger with a series of brilliant running shots and a gritty display of close draw bowling. However, every time Dodd held a large count the bespectacled peninsula champion was able to reduce the damage or claim the end. And when Dodd held three and a match lie with the score at 22-24, Sellenger coolly drew the absolute shot to book an appointment with Bush the following morning. At the outset Sellenger emerged from a tight contest with Blackburn’s Steve Milsted in the open- ing round, while Bush established a 13-2 early buffer over Alan Maher from Woodend before cruising to victory, and Schraner was far too accomplished for Bundoora RSL’s Graham Gebus. - David Allen Victorian Men’s Singles Championship at Wangaratta Bowls Club Round of 16: Rowan Sharp (Burwood) d Barrie Lester (Moonee Ponds) 25-16, Col Morrell (Horsham City) d Ted Bott (Inverloch) 25-22, John Clark (Edithvale) d Barry Brennan (Rochester) 25-22, Lee Schraner (Brighton) d Graham Gebus (Bundoora RSL) 25-8, Eric Sellenger (Dromana) d Steve Milsted (Blackburn) 25-20, Brett Dodd (Werribee RSL) d Dylan Benwell (Clayton) w/o, Nathan Bush (Geelong West) d Alan Maher (Woodend) 25-11, Bill Davison (Corowa Services) d David Kelly (Woomelang) 25-23. Quarter finals: Sharp d Morrell 25-19, Schraner d Clark 25-23, Sellenger d Dodd 25-22, Bush d Davison 25-15 . Semi finals: Bush d Sellenger 25-8, Schraner d Sharp 25-15. Final: Lee Schraner (Brighton) d Nathan Bush (Geelong West) 25-19. • Top: Strike one: Lee Schraner with president Graeme Hosken at the singles presentations. • Above: Geelong West’s Nathan Bush sends one away at Wangaratta. • Below: Giantkiller Eric Sellenger from Dromana eliminated the hot favourite. Schraner Draws First Blood
March April 2011
June July 2011