2018-19 Champions Week 2 – Day 4
The final day of Champions Week 2 promised to be a wonderful day on the calendar delivering our final lot of champions for the 2018-19 season. These champions would include the Sports Centre Men’s and Women’s State Singles Champions as well as the Men’s Champion of Champion Pairs Champions. Conditions couldn’t have been better for the players to contest these finals with sun shining and a light breeze, it provided a fantastic opportunity for high quality Lawn Bowls which was delivered in spades.
In the Women’s Sports Centre State Singles Semi Finals the first match up saw Melissa Morrow of The Lawns Renmark against Murray Bridge RSL’s Karen Kneebone. Morrow powered out of the blocks to catch Kneebone off guard, adjusting to the rink more quickly and racing out to a comprehensive 16-2 lead in the first to 21 match up. This was always going to be a difficult margin to overcome but Kneebone fought on and created some shining light, fighting back to a 19-12 deficit but the margin proved too great to overcome as Morrow claimed two singles to record a 21-12 victory and book a place in the final. In the other Semi Final, Heather Knevitt of Wallaroo squared off with Coralie Sheldon from Strathalbyn. This match was a see sawing affair with Knevitt leading 12-5 in the first half of the match before Sheldon asserted some dominance of her own to grab a 15-14 lead. The gravity then shifted proceedings again with Knevitt recording two strong counts of three shots and four shots to finish the game stronger and record a 21-16 win to secure a spot in the final.
Women’s Sports Centre State Singles Semi Final results:
Melissa Morrow (RRS) 21 d Karen Kneebone (MGR) 12
Heather Knevitt (WAL) 21 d Coralie Sheldon (STR) 16
The Women’s Sports Centre State Singles Final then began between Melissa Morrow and Heather Knevitt shortly after, and a good crowd gathered to witness the final. Both players were contesting their first ever state singles finals but had played in previous state event finals with Melissa Morrow being a previous State Triples champion. Both players started evenly with scores at 2-2 after 4 ends before Morrow went on a run securing multiple counts of two shots and in the process opening up a healthy 16-7 lead. Knevitt was working her way back into the match to cut the margin back to 17-11 before Morrow finished the match in emphatic fashion claiming a maximum count of four shots to claim the 2019 Women’s Sports Centre State Singles Championship 21-11.
Women’s Sports Centre State Singles Final results:
Melissa Morrow (RRS) 21 d Heather Knevitt (WAL) 11
In the Men’s Sports Centre State Singles Semi Finals the first game saw two young guns in action with 24 year old Ben Bowman from Wasleys taking on defending State Singles Men’s champion, 18 year old Josh Studham. Both players were playing high octane bowls and a fantastic match of even quality was the result with neither player leading by more than three shots en route to a 15-15 score line. With Josh being the defending champion it may have been that his experience in this situation would shine through but it was Bowman from Wasleys who remained steady down the stretch to win four of the next five ends and claim a 21-16 victory to advance to his first ever State Singles final. The opposing Semi Final saw veteran and former state representative Gary Smith from Laura take on current State side skipper Craig Mills. This was another fantastic match up with both players playing exquisite bowls to produce an 8-8 score line early. Mills then opened the match up by winning five of the next six ends which included a count of four shots to jump to a 17-9 lead. As is often the case in singles this lead proved too much to overcome and despite a continued fight from Smith and good play, Mills carried out the match 21-13.
Men’s Sports Centre State Singles Semi Finals results:
Ben Bowman (WAS) 21 d Josh Studham (HOL) 16
Craig Mills (WLK) 21 d Gary Smith (LAU) 13
The Men’s Sports Centre State Singles Final then began, and with Craig Mills competing in his sixth State Singles final and Ben Bowman competing in his first, the power of experience rested with Mills and tagged him as the early favourite. With his head down and a steely resolve in his eyes Mills looked in ominous touch early consistently finding his weight on the slick Murray Bridge greens to pepper the jack and build strong heads in his favour. Bowman played gallantly and was still playing consistent bowls but couldn’t match the power of Mills and soon found himself on the wrong end of a 15-2 score line. Even when Bowman was building some good heads of his own, well pointed drives from Mills would take away the danger and he soon wrapped the match up to claim the 2019 Men’s Sports Centre State Singles title with a comprehensive 21-6 win. This was Mills third time saluting as champion. Action from the match which was live streamed can be viewed by clicking here.
Men’s Sports Centre State Singles Finals results:
Craig Mills (WLK) 21 d Ben Bowman (WAS) 6
The Men’s Champion of Champion Pairs Semi Finals saw a first up encounter between James Gregory and Mark Haines of West Lakes against Bob Ormston and Ashley Halls of Lockleys. As can be expected with all these teams firstly winning their Club Championship Pairs and several games to advance to Champions Week, high quality matches ensued under the 2x2x2x2 pairs format. Haines’ team appeared to have the game in control at 8-3 after 8 of 15 ends before Halls answered by winning four of the next five ends to claim a 11-9 lead with two ends to play. Haines grabbed a two to level the scores at 11-11 on the last end. Instructing his lead to drive his jack into the ditch which was unsuccessful, Haines then stepped up and drove the jack into the ditch sitting pretty much directly on top of it, Halls declared he would be unable to beat the shot and the players shook hands without needing to play the rest of the end with Haines team advancing to the final. In the opposing Semi Final another great game between Mick Pickstock and Ben Smith of Two Wells against David Machin and Brenton Roberts from Strathalbyn. This match was very even with neither team ever able to establish dominance and scores never more than three the margin in either direction. Going into the final end, Smith lead 14-12 however with one bowl to come, Roberts team held the three shots they would require to snatch victory. Smith cut the count down to 2 which forced an extra end of play. On the extra end Pickstock placed his bowls on the jack early, which proved to be the winning shots as the team from Two Wells skippered by Smith advanced to the final.
Men’s Champion of Champion Pairs Semi Finals results:
James Gregory & Mark Haines (WLK) 12 d Bob Ormston & Ashley Halls (LOC) 11
Mick Pickstock & Ben Smith (TWE) 15 d David Machin & Brenton Roberts (STR) 14
The Men’s Champion of Champion Pairs Finals began between James Gregory and Mark Haines of West Lakes against Mick Pickstock and Ben Smith of Two Wells and promised to be another high quality game to wrap up the 2018-19 state event season. The West Lakes combination would have been the more fancied heading into the contest as they were a former state pairs winning team, but the team from Two Wells would proved to be very worthy contenders for the title. There was never much in the match with Haines’ team holding a slender advantage for the majority but were never safe as the lead didn’t stretch more than four shots. With one end to play Haines lead 11-9 and was just one down on the head with one Smith bowl to come, a superb shot from Smith which touched the jack gave Two Wells a count of two which forced an extra end as they did in the morning game. On the extra end Two Wells got the shot in early with some good draw bowls which proved difficult to dislodge and despite some good attempts from Gregory and Haines, they held on to secure a count of three and claimed the 2019 Men’s Champion of Champion Pairs title 14-11.
Men’s Champion of Champion Pairs finals results:
Mick Pickstock & Ben Smith (TWE) 14 d James Gregory & Mark Haines (WLK) 11
Full results and draws for Champions Week 2 can be found by clicking here.