Minor Pairs finalists: Chris & Bob Gunning (runners-up) with Nev Hillyard and Don Freeman (winners). Image: Contributed

Yamba Men’s Lawn Bowls: Championships

The semi-finals and final of the 2019 Minor Pairs Championship were played on Sunday (June 30) in the best weather conditions experienced for some time. Graeme Brown and his green-keeping crew worked tirelessly to ensure a first-class playing surface for which the players were truly appreciative.

The semi-final between Bob and Chris Gunning and the pairing of Cliff Hinton and John Luchetti began in very tight fashion with neither side able to break clear of the other. However, it was Bob and Chris who combined the better to slowly, but surely, establish supremacy on the scoreboard. Bob and Chris took the match by 21-11 to secure a position in the afternoon’s final.

The second semi-final between the duo of Barry Latham and Jamie Gordon and Nev Hillyard and Don Freeman appeared to be heading for an early finish with Nev and Don holding a significant advantage. That was however until Barry and Jamie managed to claim a haul of six shots to dramatically close the scoreboard variance. Nev and Don managed to regain their poise and momentum to take the contest by 28-14.

The final was played in great spirit and after a few ends it looked as if it would come down to the wire to determine the eventual winner. However, Nev and Don started to combine well to force Bob and Chris to play for luck and although they had plenty, it was mostly bad. Nev and Don managed to control the mat for large segments of the game and subsequently controlled the scoreboard. The final score was 29-8 with Nev and Don taking the elusive Yamba Minor Pairs Championship.

The quarter and semi-finals of the club Mixed Pairs Championship were contested on Saturday in difficult and unpleasant conditions. In the quarter-finals, Greg Johnson and daughter, Julie Coulter, paired well to overcome the husband and wife combination of Dave and Helen Atkinson by 26-15; Cathryn Aitchison and Alan Abbott accounted for Lois Duncan and Terry Johnson by 22-9; defending champions, Marjorie Thompson and Graham Meany got the better of the persistent pairing of Chris Cole and Jamie Gordon 29-17; and Wendy and Bob Ballantyne had to battle to defeat Denise Burey and Adam Hart 20-15 in an entertaining contest.

The semi-finals were disrupted by rain and were eventually completed under lights in increasingly difficult conditions. Cathryn Aitchison continued her dominant form to help her partner Alan Abbott to take their match against Julie Coulter and Greg Johnson by 23-10. In a replay of last year’s final, the match between Wendy and Bob Ballantyne and Marj Thompson and Graham Meany was a highlight for the day. It appeared that an extra end would be required to separate the two teams. Marj and Graham held a scoreboard advantage of two shots and Wendy and Bob held a two shot hold on the final end. However, Marj and Graham managed to reduce the deficit to only one shot to take the match by 20-19 in a great game of mixed lawn bowls. A date for the final is yet to be decided and will be advertised when known.

The nomination sheets for the Club Veterans Singles, C Grade Singles, Minor Singles, Consistency Singles and Mixed Fours Championships are on the noticeboard.

Don Freeman