The afternoon of Tuesday February 16 saw bowlers contend with driving rain and strong winds. Pictured during appalling condition (l-r) M Toovey (GDS) A Mclean (Iluka); J Abbott (Yamba); R Duncan (Iluka); C Johnson (Maclean). Image: contributed.

State Open and Seniors Pairs rounds at Yamba

The four finalists in the Open and Senior sections of the Clarence River District Women’s Bowls State Pairs are spread across four different clubs in the district. However, both the skills and resilience of all players were called upon in the opening rounds at Yamba Bowling Club last week.

The inconsistent, windy, wet, hot conditions were certainly a challenge, but the greens were a delight to play on.

Prevailing to contest the Open Pairs final set down for Tuesday 23 were the experienced Iluka team of Kim Mogler and Margaret Gosper and the talented relative newcomers to this form of the district competition, Sandra Youlten and Lee Rae from Maclean.

Kim and Margaret had a comfortable win in the first round on Tuesday 16 over G Glass and K Johnson from Grafton District Services but were stretched in their second round by Julie Coulter and Judy Pryor of Yamba. Down 5/12 on the 10th end, they fought their way back in very wet and windy conditions to level at 15 all on 15. A strong finish saw them take the game 20/15.

They continued their good form to down the strong combo of Wendy Haselum and Judy Parkes of Maclean 16/14 in the third round and followed this up in an equally tough semi-final against Judy Abbott and Cathryn Aitchison (Yamba).

In the semi, Kim and Margaret jumped out to a strong 9/1 lead on 7 ends, only to see Cathryn and Judy fight their way back to 11 all on 13. With the score again level on 14 all on the penultimate 17th, Kim and Margaret played a superb final end under pressure, to win 19/14.

They take on Sandra and Lee who also had a convincing first up win in awful conditions over clubmates Cheryl Johnson and Sandra Ferro and followed it up with a really strong quarter final performance to down Lyn Briggs and Ann Mclean from Iluka.

Playing last year’s champs in the semi did not daunt this less experienced team, and on 10 ends they had jumped out to a commanding 17-3 lead though some fine bowling by both ladies. Despite a determined rear-guard action by Helen Atkinson and Chris Cole (Yamba), Sandra and Lee held their nerve and went on to record a 21-15 win.

The Senior Pairs finalists were Lois Duncan (defending champ form 2020) and Carol Ritale (Yamba) and the experienced Merle King and Candy Nixon (South Grafton).

Lois and Carol progressed through to the semi final with two good wins over Robyn Arthur and Mary Arthur of Iluka, then defeated Sue Pye and Ann McCausland also from Iluka.

They took on seasoned campaigners Anette Williams and Bev Murray of GDS in the semi. Down 3/7 on 7, Annette and Bev predictably toughed it out and took the lead 10/9 on 13. When Lois and Carole then picked up a 4 on the 17th to go 16/11 up, Anette and Bev responded with a 4 and then 1 to see the scores locked 16 all on 19. On both the remaining ends, Lois’s lead bowls were the decisive factor and she and Carol went on to win a great game, 20/16.

Merle and Candy had a good win over Fay Cannon and Shirley Hillier (GDS) in their first game but were pushed by Mary Elliott and Mary Firth (GDS) winning 19/12.

Their semi was another close contest early. Playing another GDS team, Toni Shorten and Sue Jacquin, they were level 10 all on 10, before the experience of Merle and Candy came to the fore and they strung together a series of winning ends to be 18/11 up on 16. Toni and Sue fought back, but the South Grafton pairing were too strong, and won 20/16.

These two finals will be reported on in next week’s Independent.

Wendy Ballantyne