The second of the Clarence District Women’s Bowls Championships for 2022-23 were played at Iluka last week in conditions which challenged the combatants’ resilience and determination as well as demanding the high levels of skill needed to succeed.
Open Triples Champions is the Yamba combination of Lois Duncan, Julie Coulter and Wendy Ballantyne, who played consistently well across the two days at Iluka.
They met the host club’s Lyn Briggs, Gilly Wakefield and Michelle Swan in the final, played in freezing, windy and wet conditions.
Wendy’s team won their way through with some fine play.
On day one, in totally contrasting warm, fine weather, they had a tough first up game against Kaylene Toovey, Kim Mogler and Margaret Gosper from Iluka, but won well, to the tune of 28-12.
The next day in the semi they took on Sandra Youlten, Maureen Grimes and Carolyn Byrom of Maclean. They had defeated clubmates Narelle Phelps, Wendy Haselum and Judy Parkes, 30-11, the day before.
The Yamba team handled the tricky conditions a bit better than their opponents, and capitalised on their opportunities to win well, 29-12.
From the other half of the draw, emerged eventual runners up, Iluka’s Lyn Briggs, Gilly Wakefield and Michelle Swan.
On the first day, they had a more dramatic path to the semi-final, with their first two games each being decided by just one shot.
First, against Yamba’s Marianne Jenner, Monica Parker and Helen Atkinson. Leading 20-6, Michelle’s team survived a late comeback from Yamba, and hung on to win 26-25.
Then in the second round, up against Pauline Ryan, Cheryl Johnson and Sandra Ferro from Maclean, it was a reverse scenario, this time the Iluka team overcame a big deficit to snatch a 24-23 victory on the last end.
Then in the difficult second day conditions, their semi-final saw Michelle and Co play terrific bowls to prevail over South Grafton’s Merle King, Anna Bunn and Candy Nixon by a more comfortable margin, 27-12.
Previously, on day one, Candy’s team accounted for GDS’s Marie McClaer, Karen Napper and Debbie Walsh, 31-24.
They then defeated Marisa Mutch, Fiona Stewart-Butcher and Caley Causley 26-16. This Maclean combo had earlier downed clubmates Cathy Ayres, Ruth Fletcher and Pauline O’Keeffe 25-15.
So, the scene was set for the final in bitterly cold windy conditions, but the quality of the bowls did not disappoint the band of hardy spectators. As is always the case between teams skipped by Wendy versus Michelle, it was a never-say-die tussle between good mates all the way.
At the outset, it was tight until the Yamba team strung together 6 shots in 3 ends to lead 9-4 on 9 ends. Playing some terrific bowls on mainly long ends, they were able to stretch this out to a very comfortable 19-6 lead on 19 ends.
But it “aint over till it’s over” and Michelle’s crew fought hard to claw back 4 in the next three ends to hit double figures.
Then they gave the opposition a fright by picking up a rare 4 and narrowing the margin to 20-14 with one end to go and were eyeing off another of their last end miracles.
But needing only to prevent their opponents scoring the maximum 6 shots on the final end, Wendy’s team maintained their composure, defended any possible multiple, and in fact drew the winning shot with the final bowl, to run out very deserving winners 21-14.
District President, Denise McLachlan was on hand to present the winners and runners up their badges and wish them well at the Regional playoffs in December.
Members are reminded that they can now check up on all the latest CRDWBA news on the Facebook page: Crdwba.
Caption: Wendy Ballantyne, Julie Coulter, Lois Duncan. Image: contributed.