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Bowls In Focus : December 2011
6 Bowls In Focus Bowls Victoria’s first-ever Victorian Open Championships presented in the Goulburn Valley last month had all the characteristics of a David Lean epic. The producer of ‘Ryan’s Daughter’, ‘Doctor Zhivago’ and other gargantuan box office hits would have been impressed at how this inaugural Open went down. Its sheer volume of personnel, participation and planning created a logistic tapestry that if not weaved securely, could have unraveled in nightmare proportions. Not a thread was out of place. And of course a classic adventure needs to have brave heroics, good and bad luck stories, a stockpile of cash, unexpected twists of fate, larger than life characters and even a race against the elements. Over the six days of competition this Open had them all. No fewer than a thousand entries were received from bowlers keen to strut their stuff in the singles, pairs and triples events for men and women, while those prepared to up the ante could also stake a claim for a starting berth in next year’s Australian Open. Qualifying rounds were conducted at twelve venues, while the finals took place at the Shepparton Park headquarters; accordingly the congratulations and appreciation of all competing bowlers is also extended to the Dookie, East Shepparton, Hill Top, Kyabram, Mooroopna, Mooroopna Golf, Murchison, Shepparton Golf, Shepparton RSL, Tallygaroopna and Tatura clubs for their hosting excellence. A testimony to the prestige of this inaugural Open was the knowledge that no fewer than seven world champions - players who have reached the sport’s global pinnacle – travelled to the Goulburn Valley to take their shot at its gold and glory. The biggest – literally – was Ireland’s Jeremy Henry who made his initial foray into the Open in the men’s pairs at Tatura on day two. A native of Ballymoney in Northern Ireland, he is one of the most decorated sportsmen in his country’s Victorian Open Blockbuster Open Premiere