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Bowls In Focus : November 2011
Bowls In Focus 13 Victoria’s fate at the Senior Nationals the conditions at Shellharbour extremely well and our guys had no excuses. Close, Cipolla, Thomas and Richards were our only winning rink in the seven-shot defeat. Victoria closed out its commitments on day four with a disappointing loss in the men’s competition and another gutsy win under pressure in the women’s equivalent. Whoever said bowls is a funny game wasn’t joking. On the previous day our men trounced Queensland by doubling their score, while a day earlier saw the Sunshine State thrash NSW by almost 40. But for reasons known only to the gods of the game, in round seven the NSW side managed to control the final round match against Victoria and emerge as seven-shot winners. Go figure. Our only winning rink was Morrissey, Waite, Tonn and Allen; over popular NSW country star Ross Maguire by seven; while Close & Co went down to former international Rex Johnston’s rink by four. After four rounds Ross, Anset, Arthur and Sharp were leading the rinks table undefeated, before an unexpected three-shot loss to the Tasmanian team skipped by Wayne Manson at Shellharbour in round six was annexed by their loss to Neville Downes and his NSW rink by 10. However, despite the loss, Ross and his men still emerged as the state’s top men’s rink and sixth best overall. Two wins from its six starts saw the Victorian defending champions finish in fifth place; its least productive campaign since the event’s inception in 2005. From the previous six events our men have claimed the title twice and been runners-up on four occasions. Big Brian ‘Tiger’ Richards was named as Victoria’s ‘Most Valuable Player’ of the series for his consistently strong performance as lead in the rink skipped by Barrie Close. Ironically, despite having the standout lead in the side, the Close rink could only manage three wins from six starts, while last year his team’s contribution was two wins from six also. Hmmm. Our women prevailed in another nail-biting finish against traditional rivals NSW on the swift-running Warilla turf in the final round, after scores were level with one end to play. At the outset our combination of Spizer, Brick, Nadelman and McColgan bolted to a 14-3 lead against NSW’s former world fours winning skip Daphne Shaw and her side. However, as the match progressed, the Two-Blues gnawed away at the deficit and the upshot saw them escape with a single shot win against the fast-finishing NSW rink. After a brilliant performance on the indoor stadium on the previous day, Withers, Whorlow, Steel and McGrath faced up to the experienced NSW rink skipped by veteran star Gloria Clifton, with former Victorian international Betty Herbertson also in the line-up. Despite a fine exhibition of lead bowls from McGrath, this combination was always under the pump and didn’t help themselves when they gave the shot away at critical stages over the 21-end journey. But some fine saves by Withers over the crucial final ends saw them lose by 10 shots, although it could have been worse. Victoria’s heroes in this victory were the rink of Lindores, Johnson, Thomassen and Boyd, who after trailing 1-9 picked up three counts of three to take the lead, and then withstood everything multi-NSW title winner Meg McClure and her team threw at them. Boyd was brave and consistent in the lead position; Thomassen showed the experience of over 100 state representations; while Johnson, who gained in stature with every outing during the week, was outstanding at third. But it was Lindores, a four-times world champion and Commonwealth Games gold medalist for Scotland, who demonstrated why she is still amongst the elite players on the world stage in a commanding performance. On the final end they again combined beautifully to clinch the match by a single shot and a rink win by 10. In the wash-up Victoria finished third in this first women’s championship, while memories of that magical Lee Poletti bowl in the opening round which cost our side dearly will grate for a while. Lindores, Johnson, Thomassen and Boyd finished second in the best-performed rink award, by one shot from the WA team skipped by Angela Sharp, who won their final round match by 18 to overhaul the Vics who were overnight leaders. However, there was some respite for the quartet when Lindores was named as Victoria’s ‘Most Valuable Player’ in the series, which was voted on by all competing teams. Next year’s championship will be hosted in the ACT and it is hoped the South Australians will decide to participate and formalise a bona fide national competition. - David Allen Australian Senior Sides Championship at Warilla Bowls Club NSW Men: Rd.1: Vic lost to WA 58-65 (I Ross 26 L Thorn 22, B Close 19 G Evans 20, R Morrissey 13 T Krajancic 23), NSW d NT 81-43, Qld d Tas 86-44. Rd.2 : Vic lost to ACT 53-57 (R Morrissey 19 T McInnes 17, I Ross 19 J McDonald 18, B Close 15 B Watts 22), Qld d NT 81-41, NSW d Tas 55-54. Rd.3 : Vic bye, Qld d NSW 82-37, Tas d ACT 67-55, WA d NT 72-51 Rd.4: Vic d NT 78-37 (I Ross 32 T Hamilton 13, R Morrissey 27 I Belsham 12, B Close 19 W Ledsham 12), WA d NSW 56-55, Qld d ACT 63-49. Rd.5: Vic d Qld 70-34 (I Ross 27 G Hawken 7, B Close 24 N Jenkins 15, R Morrissey 19 K Luck 12), WA d Tas 74-42, ACT d NT 59-49. Rd.6 : Vic lost to Tas 49-56 (B Close 17 C Ramsden 14, I Ross 17 W Manson 20, R Morrissey 15 G Alford 22), Qld d WA 60-54, NSW d ACT 63-49. Rd.7: Vic lost to NSW 51-58 (R Morrissey 21 R Maguire 14, B Close 16 R Johnston 20, N Downes 24 I Ross 14), Tas d NT 57-42, WA d ACT 77-51. Final placings: Qld 10 points (13 rinks), WA 10 (12.5), NSW 8 (12), Tas 6 (7.5), Vic 4 (11), ACT 4 (4), NT 0 (3). Women: Rd.1: Vic lost to WA 56-58 (M Spizer 26 R Dunn 17, J Lindores 18 L Poletti 17, B Withers 12 A Sharp 24), ACT d NSW 61-49, Qld d Tas 74-46. Rd.2 : Vic d ACT 71-44 (J Lindores 30 L Gillespie 14, M Spizer 24 M Davies 9, B Withers 17 P Hamilton 21), WA d Qld 65-52, Tas d NSW 53-52. Rd.3 : Vic lost to Qld 53-65 (J Lindores 23 L Wilmott 20, M Spizer 16 E Welsh 16, B Withers 14 L Watson 29), NSW d WA 62-50, Tas d ACT 54-47. Rd.4: Vic d Tas 63-55 (B Withers 33 M Buckingham 11, M Spizer 16 M Beaumont 22, J Lindores 14 C Daly 22), Qld d NSW 58-51, WA d ACT 64-48. Rd.5 : Vic d NSW 61-60 (J Lindores 26 M McClure 16, M Spizer 22 D Shaw 21, B Withers 13 G Clifton 23), Qld d ACT 84-51, WA d Tas 78-52 . Final placings: WA 8 points (9 rinks), Qld 8 (8), Vic 6 (8.5), Tas 4 (4), NSW 2 (7), ACT 2 (4.5). • Victoria’s best-performed rink at the championships: Pat Boyd, Joyce Lindores, Joy Johnson and Robyn Thomassen. • Rowan Sharp, Dennis Arthur, Barry Anset and Ian Ross finished the series as top Victorian men’s rink