Zone 1 Open Singles Champion, Brad Johnson, with runner-up Kris Lehfeldt. Image: Contributed

Local bowlers shine in CRDBA Zone One Singles Championships

Sunday was the day for the Zone One Singles Championships to be contested at the Byron Bay Bowling Club. The Clarence River District Bowling Association (CRDBA) was represented by the 2019 CRDBA Divisional Champions with Brad Johnson of Yamba in the Open Division, Graham Meany, also of Yamba, in the Senior Division and the legend, Steve ‘Sparra’ Colley of Brooms Head in the President’s Reserves. The respective winners of the Zone One titles qualify for the State finals to be played at Ettalong in September.

This year the CRDBA had the bye with the Northern Rivers and Tweed-Byron champions contesting the morning elimination matches. In the Open Division, Brad Johnson came up against Kris Lehfeldtof Ballina who eliminated the talented Troy Makin of Ocean Shores. Brad and Kris battled hard and although Brad had an early lead it was never by more than a few shots. At one stage, Brad led by 13 shots to seven but a Lehfeldt fightback followed to close the gap. Brad then established another minor break at 17 shots to 12. However, Brad on this occasion was able to answer the renowned ‘Lehfeldt Fightback’ and then advance the scoreboard to 26 shots to 17, before closing out the match by 31 shots to 18 in runaway fashion.

Zone 1 Open Singles Champion, Brad Johnson, with runner-up Kris Lehfeldt. Image: Contributed

In the Senior Division, Graham Meany had the task of defeating John Wilson of Evans Head.  John had early defeated Phil Bennett of Pottsville in an entertaining encounter. Graham jumped to an early and significant 11 shots to one lead, but at this standard of competition, the fighting qualities of all competitors can never be doubted and John fought back to trail 15 shots to ten before levelling the scorecards at 23 shots each. John then took the initiative to lead by three with scores at 26 shots to 23. However, Graham doesn’t earn a nickname of ‘Stinge’ by giving away shots or providing an easy ride and true to form he fought back to take the match by 31 shots to 26 in a true test of resilience.

Zone 1 Senior Singles Champion, Graham Meany, with runner-up John Wilson. Image: Contributed

Pressure was now on Steve Colley to make it an historic CRDBA clean sweep. ‘Sparra’ was up against Gary Rose from Lismore Workers Sports Club and the script was entirely different from that of the other two contests. This match was going to be close from start to finish. Cheered on by the throng of Brooms Heads supporters who made the long journey north, Steve got an early eight shots to five lead, but this was never going to last. Gary fought back to take a one-shot lead at 17 shots to 16. Gary then gained momentum to move to the cusp of victory with a 30 shots to 23 advantage. But, the ‘Big Man of Brooms Head Bowls’ dug deep levelling the scoreboard at 30 shots each and sending the flock of ‘Sparrowettes’ into a frenzy. However, history will have to wait as Gary spoiled the party by taking the final end and the match by 31 shots to 30.

A great day for the CRDBA and congratulations to Brad Johnson, Graham Meany and Steve Colley on their efforts and sportsmanship.  

Don Freeman