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Bowls In Focus : November 2011
6 Bowls In Focus It was a fitting tribute to the legendary Dot Jenkinson when a record number of entries competed in her annual pairs tournament this year, following the recent announcement of her induction to the inaugural Australian Bowls Hall of Fame next month. But I’m wondering what the great lady would have thought about a couple of South Australians slipping across the border to snatch the gold and glory. Actually, over the last year or so it’s become a disturbing trend, with Croweaters scooping the pool in Victoria’s other two prestige events, Moama’s Premier Pairs and the Australia Day Classic at Warrnambool. Just kidding. But it’s hats off to Maxine Savage and Jan Underdown from the West Lakes club in Adelaide, who were the outstanding combination at last month’s ‘DJ’ and it must be noted that they did it against all odds. The lone qualifiers at Red Cliffs, the great Dot’s club, where players competed on two contrasting and testing synthetic surfaces, they raced into Mildura for a two-end roll-up before facing opposition who had been undefeated on the same greens over two days. Then, just for good measure, their opponents in the main event were dual state pairs championship winners Glenda Holt and Bronwyn McDermott from Bendigo East. However, after winning their elimination matches, they claimed a three on the first end of the five-end final, then backed up with consecutive singles to lead 5-0 with two to play. Holt and McDermott had a great chance to make a four on the next before Savage drew a marvelous shot to make it 6-0 – especially clever after sending down a wrong bias with her previous delivery. Come the last roll of the dice and McDermott pounced on leader Jan Underdown’s only poor end of the tournament, while Holt joined in the close drawing expo which saw the Bendigo East duo holding five, although needing six to force an extra end. It was a tension personified when Holt lined up for her final delivery, needing to skirt perilously close around an opposition bowl to make the seemingly impossible, possible. However, her last despairing forehand was a marginally narrow and actually promoted the offending wood into the head for fifth shot to enter the West Lakes duo’s winning score of 6-4 into the history books after a gallant last ditch effort from the Victorians. There is something very special about this annual bowls festival and testimony to its popularity is that over the fifteen years no fewer that 1100 different bowlers from all over Australia have converged on the Sunraysia region to honour the life and exploits of Dot Jenkinson. Several have played in all fifteen, but each year a bevy of new faces come along to enjoy the competition and its associated social whirl. The ‘DJ’ is no easy gig. Every October the field of around 150 quality combinations is assigned a venue at one of the five host clubs, where they play five 12-end qualifying rounds with the knowledge that only undefeated teams can participate in Friday afternoon’s finals at headquarters. At the conclusion of day one’s three rounds there were 22 undefeated pairs, with four at Irymple, three at Merbein, Mildura had seven, while Red Cliffs had two and six remained unscathed on the Workingman’s greens. However, as has been the case so often, the attrition rate in Friday morning’s fourth round cut a swath amongst the contenders with six teams losing, while a further three went out in round five. And we spare a thought for two challenging pairs, Czes Knight from Mildura and Trish Walters from Workers, along with Clayton’s Joyce Lindores and Barbara Vaughan, who were both undefeated but drew a qualifying round which eliminated them from calculations. As the five-game winners lined up on the Mildura turf - and with hearts and minds focused Major Event • Above: South Australians Maxine Savage and Jan Underdown with the coveted DJ Champions Trophy. • Below: Winning skip Maxine Savage in action during the final. • Right: Bendigo East’s Bronwyn McDermott sends one down on the final end. Croweaters Swoop On Sunraysia Stars