Two quality finals were the culmination of the Open and Senior sections of the Clarence River District Women’s Bowls State Pairs, played at Yamba on Tuesday February 23.
The finals were witnessed by a large and appreciative crowd, drawing spectators from across all four clubs represented, as well as supporters from Brooms Head. Without exception, spectators were enthralled and impressed by the standard of play, particularly under the oppressive conditions.
The worthy winners in the Open Pairs final were the talented relative newcomers to this form of the district competition, Sandra Youlten and Lee Rae from Maclean, who overcame their more experienced opponents from Iluka in Kim Mogler and Margaret Gosper in a tough contest.
Equally worthy were the winners of the Seniors, the Yamba combination of Lois Duncan and Carol Ritale, who finished equal on 13 all with Merle King and Candy Nixon from South Grafton after the regulation 21 ends. Then in a nail biter, won by 1 shot on an extra end.
Both games bore out the truth of the cliché, “that game was worthy of a final”.
In the Opens, Kim and Margaret certainly had the better of their opponents early in the game and Kim especially led beautifully, keeping her opponent under constant pressure. By the 4th end the Iluka team had a good 7-1 lead.
But then their less experienced opponents steadied, and gradually worked their way back into the game, compiling 8 shots in the next 6 ends to see them in front, 9-8.
Over the next 4 ends the game tightened, with Sandra and Lee leading 13-12 on 16 ends.
Then on the penultimate 17th end, with the Iluka team holding 4 and with one bowl in to go, Lee pulled off the match winner, when she fired at the jack, and killed the end.
From there, despite their opponents’ best efforts to stymie them, and with confidence sky high, the Maclean ladies finished in style and went on to win, 16-12.
The Senior Pairs final was another outstanding game between four talented bowlers. The closeness of this game was evidenced not only in the forcing of an extra end, but also in the closeness of the scores throughout. In fact, from the 12th end till the 21st the maximum difference in the scores was just 2 shots.
Lois Duncan and Carol Ritale of Yamba eventually prevailed over Merle King and Candy Nixon from South Grafton.
In a game that was always in the balance, all four players are to be congratulated on the quality of bowls played under plenty of scoreboard pressure.
The situation of the heads oscillated almost every end. And with 3 ends to go the scores stood at 12-all, equal for the 5th time in the game.
On the final regulation end, leading by 1 and trying to ensure she got the shot in a very tight head, Candy managed to slice the jack, only to unluckily find that Carol had the closest bowl, and scores were 13 all.
The extra end was equally tight, and when Merle picked up the jack to take the shot away from Lois’s toucher, and Candy drew another, it looked grim for Carol. However, she steadied and herself drew Candy’s bowl off and stayed for shot to snatch victory, 14-13.
These two finals were a fitting finale to the District Pairs State Championship.
The first rounds of the District State Fours commence on Tuesday March 2, with the Opens at Iluka and the Seniors having been transferred to Yamba. Results will be reported in the next edition.