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Bowls In Focus : June July 2011
Bowls In Focus 13 Victoria’s growing ranks of Professional Bowls Association members got a chance to strut their stuff last month when state qualifying rounds for the world’s major indoor events were staged at the Brighton Indoor Stadium. Over four physically gruelling days the pros competed for spots in the Australian qualifying tour- nament at Warilla in August, where direct entry into the World Indoor Singles and Pairs Championships, Scottish International Open and Welsh International Grand Prix are the rewards for those who survive. Over the past two years Barrie Lester from Moonee Ponds and Brighton’s Geoff Maskell have managed to go all the way and become Australia’s entrant in the richest bowls event on earth - the World Indoor Singles Championship at Potter’s Leisure Resor t in Norwich – where the £40,000 first prize is the most juicy carrot in the game. Sadly both of these fine local players became early spectators after falling to match-hardened UK professionals. It’s almost mission impossible for anyone who doesn’t play on the famed portable rink or similar, five and six days a week, for a living, as most of these guys do. However, we can still dream that one day another Aussie might be able to match the efforts of Scotland’s Paul Foster and Englishman Greg Harlow, who won the past two titles when our Victorians were there. Back in 1992 Gippsland-born former international Ian Schuback, well known to us for his expert commentary of televised bowls on the ABC and Fox, rocked the establishment when he defeated Welshman John Price to win the title at the Preston Guild Hall. At the conclusion of the second day at Brighton it appeared that the four events being contested were becoming Lee Schraner benefits. The undisputed king of outdoor singles play in Victoria this year, he looked equally comfortable on the Clayton carpet, having progressed to the semi finals in all of them, without dropping a set. Another young pro to show early sizzle was Sun- bury starlet Carla Odgers, who made the boys sit up and take notice when she collected the scalps of state player Neville Rodda and Mt Waverley’s impish Rob Huddle to reach the semi finals of the world indoor. However, it was the rampant Schraner who ended her charge also. The ‘Schrane-train’ motored on come Sunday morning when he and Rodda, his Australian Open pairs winning partner, had too much class for Men- tone’s Christian Thornhill and Brendan McCallum in the world pairs qualifying final. But just when people were suggesting a Schra- ner clean sweep, the great Maskell stepped up and wrestled the Welsh Grand Prix semi final from him in a classical encounter. Then, proving it was no flash in the pan, Maskell completely outclassed Clayton’s Tony Wood in straight sets to win the final, a berth in the Australian qualifying event, and perhaps a date with the world’s best in the beautiful Welsh city of Swansea next February. But the young Clayton whiz had little time for reflection - he had to face Schraner in the world singles qualifying final in the very next session. However, it was a different Tony Wood who stepped out onto the carpet this time around. After a tense tied first set, Wood gained the advantage in the second with a couple of brave tac- tical ploys that saw him prevail by a shot and inflict successive losses on the Brighton superstar. Still, Wood, Schraner and Rodda earned the right to head for Warilla in August with the reserved Australian qualifying spots in the world indoor singles and pairs draw at Potter’s next January on their minds. Come late afternoon on day four and Schraner had another appointment, this time with Brendan McCallum in the Scottish International Open quali- fying final. And after powering through the first set he succumbed to the highly competitive Mentone Edge champion in the second. But he left no stone unturned in the three-end tiebreaker and can now set his sights on Warilla, then hopefully the Per th Indoor Bowling Centre in the heart of Scotland for the International Open during November. - David Allen Australian Professional Bowls Association Victorian Qualifying Series at Brighton Bowling Club World Indoor Singles Championship Round of 16: L Schraner (Brighton) d G Gebus (Bundoora RSL) 9-6 10-1, G Maskell (Brighton) d B McCallum (Mentone) 7-2 8-3, R Huddle (Mt Waverley) d P Gawthorne (Brighton) 9-4 9-1, C Odgers (Sunbury) d N Rodda (Richmond Union) 8-3 3-5 2-0, T Wood (Clayton) d R Dixon (Clayton) 9-0 8-2, J Tennent (Lara) d N Brown (Yarraville Footscray) 4-5 6-5 2-1, F Vella (Epping) d J McMenaman (Richmond Union) 7-1 7-3, G Niclasen (Essendon) d P Massee (Mt Eliza) 7-5 7-4. Quarter finals: Schraner d Maskell 11-4 6-2, Odgers d Huddle 7-1 5-10 2-1, Wood d Tennent 9-8 7-2, Vella d Niclasen 5-4 5-6 2-0. Semi finals: Wood d Vella 7-4 5-7 2-0, Schraner d Odgers 9-1 7-3. Final: Tony Wood (Clayton) d Lee Schraner (Brighton) 4-4 5-4. World Indoor Pairs Championship Quarter finals: G Niclasen (Essendon), G Gebus (Bundoora RSL) d T Wood, R Dixon (Clayton) 3-8 8-3 2-1, C Thornhill, B McCallum (Mentone) d R Huddle (Mt Waverley), S Huddle (Clayton) 7-4 8-0, J Tennent (Lara), J McMenaman (Richmond Union) d F Vella (Epping), C Odgers (Sunbury) 8-2 7-9 2-1, L Schraner (Brighton), N Rodda (Richmond Union) d N Brown (Yarraville Footscray), D Simmons (Yarra Glen) 6-3 7-3. Semi finals: Thornhill, McCallum d Niclasen, Gebus 1-8 8-2 2-0, Schraner, Rodda d Tennent, McMenaman 12-2 10-1. Final: Lee Schraner (Brighton), Neville Rodda (Rich- mond Union) d Christian Thornhill, Brendan McCallum (Mentone) 10-1 9-4. Scottish International Open Round of 16: G Maskell (Brighton) d R Dixon (Clayton) 6-6 8-1, B McCallum (Mentone) d C Thornhill (Men- tone) 9-5 6-4, G Niclasen (Essendon) d J McMenaman (Richmond Union) 12-1 7-3, P Gawthorne (Brighton) d G Gebus (Bundoora RSL) 8-1 7-3, N Brown (Yar- raville Footscray) d P Pervaz (Ivanhoe) 7-4 5-4, F Vella (Epping) d T Wood (Clayton) 7-6 3-6 2-0, L Schraner (Brighton) d J Tennent (Lara) 10-1 8-1, D Simmons (Yarra Glen) d C Odgers (Sunbury) 8-4 10-2 . Quarter finals: McCallum d Maskell 7-4 3-9 2-0, Gawthorne d Niclasen 9-1 12 -1, Brown d Vella 6-4 8-2, Schraner d Simmons 7-4 7-2. Semi finals: McCallum d Gawthorne 3-8 8-3 2-0, Schraner d Brown 5-5 6-1. Final: Lee Schraner (Brighton) d Brendan McCallum (Mentone) 6-1 4 -7 2-0. Welsh International Grand Prix Round of 16: N Brown (Yarraville Footscray) d S Huddle (Clayton) 7-4 8-1, P Gawthorne (Brighton) d G Niclasen (Essendon) 4-3 5-4, T Wood (Clayton) d N Rodda (Richmond Union) 7-1 5-8 2-0, F Vella (Epping) d C Odgers (Sunbury) 7-2 5-4, G Gebus (Bundoora RSL) d J Tennent (Lara) 8-3 9-1, G Maskell (Brighton) d J McMenaman (Richmond Union) 12-1 5-5, L Schraner (Brighton) d R Huddle (Mt Waverley) 8-4 7-3, P Pervaz (Ivanhoe) d P Massee (Mt Eliza) 6-5 7-2. Quarter finals: Gawthorne d Brown 7-3 10-7, Wood d Vella 9-3 4-8 2-0, Maskell d Gebus 10-1 9-1, Schraner d Pervaz 6-5 6-2. Semi finals: Wood d Gawthorne 5-4 6-6, Maskell d Schraner 5-4 3-9 2-1 . Final: Geoff Maskell (Brighton) d Tony Wood (Clayton) 7-2 9-2 . Local Pros Shoot For • Winners of the PBA Victorian international qualifying events at Brighton: Tony Wood, Lee Schraner, Neville Rodda and Geoff Maskell. Stardom
August September 2011