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Bowls In Focus : December 2011
Bowls In Focus 23 Victorian Championship Displaying the fighting characteristics that have served his long and distinguished career well, Queenscliff star Barrie Close claimed the recent Victorian Men’s Over-60 Singles Championship at Mornington Civic Bowls Club. A previous winner of three Victorian titles, the 1999 and 2009 pairs along with the 2005 fours, Close added this victory to his list of accomplishments when he overcame Cohuna Golf’s Ron Eckhardt 21-10 in the final. Ironically, Close trailed Eckhardt 0 -7 after just three ends but fought manfully on the swift running Civic green to draw level with the golfer after 10, when the scoreboard read 10-10. From that point onwards Close assumed total control to keep Eckhardt scoreless for the remainder of the match’s 16-ends, although the quality of play is drastically undersold by the scoreline. Eckhardt, a skipper in his club’s all- conquering top side – they have won their past six association pennant titles - plays with a bowler’s arm and used the magic wand with ruthless efficiency to win his way into the main event. In the opening round he held sway throughout his match against Ken Smith from Traralgon, then in the quarter finals when trailing Sunbury’s Barry Atkins 10-12, he won eight of the ensuing nine ends to finish in the following day’s final four. Eckhardt’s opponent in the semi final was former winner Gary Matheson from Altona, who is always the man to beat in a senior event. However, after leading 5-0 at the outset, then trailing 5-9, Eckhardt kept with Matheson to be 12-12 at 14, then 15-apiece three ends later. But it was another finishing burst, when he won four of the final six ends to book himself an appointment with Close in the state final. It’s fair to suggest that Close had the toughest draw imaginable on route to his fourth state title. On the morning of day one he faced Brighton hard man David Shaw and was 5-12 down after 12 uneasy ends, but found the moxy to level it up at 17-17 after another ten, then dived to the line to win by four. His reward was a quarter final encounter with an even tougher hombre, 1995 state singles champion Kevin Boyd from Warrnambool, a great guy who would be typecast to wear a black Stetson in any respectable cowboy flick. Again Close trailed early, 7-11 at eleven and 13-17 seven ends later, but much to Boyd’s chagrin, a winning flush of three two’s and a pair of singles saw him safely through to the second day. The loss of four on the first end of his semi final clash with Ballarat’s Brian Gallagher probably came as no surprise to the Queenscliff legend, but he was in no mood for frivolities as he powered to a 17-6 lead from just eleven ends. And when Gallagher chimed in with three on the 12th, Barrie trumped him with a closing four to gain a start in the final, and the rest is history. There were several outstanding efforts on the morning of day one, not the least being Bowls Victoria’s Graeme Bridge whose national anthem rendition when the sound system refused to comply was a hit. On the green Brian Gallagher was 4-9 in arrears after eight to Ian Wright from Mulgrave Country, then 20-9 up nine ends later; City of Echuca’s John Dinsdale trailed Kevin Lynch from Nhill 10-11 at 14, then kept him scoreless for the duration; and Gary Matheson only allowed the well-credentialed Laurie Campbell from Orbost four scoring ends as he strode to a 21-6 win. - David Allen Victorian Men’s Over-60 Singles Championship at Mornington Civic Bowls Club Round of 16: B Gallagher (Ballarat) d I Wright (Mulgrave CC) 21-10, B Gladman (Berwick) d B Miller (Wodonga) 21-17, K Boyd (Warrnambool) d R Sharp (Burwood) 21-15, B Close (Queenscliff) d D Shaw (Brighton) 21-17, G Matheson (Altona) d L Campbell (Orbost) 21-6, J Dinsdale (City of Echuca) d K Lynch (Nhill) 21-11, R Eckhardt (Cohuna Golf) d K Smith (Traralgon) 21-15, B Atkins (Sunbury) d M Williams (Shepparton Golf) 21-14. Quarter finals: Gallagher d Gladman 21-13, Close d Boyd 21-17,Matheson d Dinsdale 21-14, Eckhardt d Atkins 21-16. Semi finals: Close d Gallagher 21-9, Eckhardt d Matheson 21-18. Final: Barrie Close (Queenscliff) d Ron Eckhardt (Cohuna Golf) 21-10 • Above: Bowls Victoria life member Fay Dunn congratulates new champion Barrie Close at Mornington Civic. • Left: Cohuna Golf’s Ron Eckhardt wields his magic wand in the state final. • Below: Former winner Gary Matheson in action during the semi finals. Battling Barrie’s Senior State Title