Champions Week 2 – Day 4 Wrap-Up
The final day of the 2017-18 Champions Week 2 dawned yet again with blue skies and the slightest cool breeze. Competitors were set for the Champion of Champion Events to be decided – Men’s and Women’s Champion of Champion Singles and Pairs both already down to the semi-final stages.
In the Champion of Champion Women’s Singles, the stage was set with Adelaide’s Sandy Wallace against Andrea Cresswell of Brighton and Mallala’s Yvonne Kelly taking on Tranmere’s Mary Diestel-Feddersen. Cresswell and Wallace had a close early start, with both players taking time to adjust to the conditions. With the scores at 6-8, Wallace started to show her experience with a trio of ends in a row claiming three shots each time to set herself in the box seat. A last ditch attempt from Cresswell but Wallace proved too strong on her former home greens of Murray Bridge, moving into the final with a 21-10 victory. In the other side of the draw, it was a similar story for Kelly, with the scores at 6-a-piece, the State representative strung five ends together to leap ahead of Diestel-Feddersen 18-6, before a toughly battled last few ends Kelly won her spot in the final 21-10.
The Champion of Champion Men’s Singles saw Marion’s Tony Devlin facing off with the current title-holder in Grange’s Wayne Ruediger, Ruediger was early out of the blocks to a 10-2 lead, and whilst Devlin worked hard to get back in the match, Ruediger kept himself in the hunt for a back-to-back title becoming the first player to qualify for the final 21-9. The other semi-final match up was between Modbury’s Simon Dorr and Toorak-Burnside’s Brian Jenkins, with Jenkins also leading early out to a 9-1 lead. A determined Dorr fought his way back into the match, with the score swinging for a few ends, before Jenkins strung a number of single scoring ends together to finish the game 21-14.
In the Champion of Champion Men’s Pairs, the Ascot Park duo of Jack Hateley and Gavin Pfeiffer proved too strong for the Adelaide combination of Scott Thulborn and Matt Northcott, with the team skipped by Pfeiffer racing to a 14-0 lead, before the Adelaide duo battled hard to get themselves in the game before the game was finished in favour of the Hateley and Pfeiffer pair 24-7. The other semi-final saw Roger Ward (Snr) and Luke Pietersma of Salisbury find the going tough early against the Happy Valley pair of Harry Burgess and Colin Watkins. A big count of 4 on the eighth end saw them level the scores at 7 all before continuing on their run to build their lead and ultimately claim the game with a 18-8 victory.
The Women’s Champion of Champion Pairs saw Karen Sander and Maree Tumbas of Somerton jump out of the blocks early with a 7-0 lead, before a mid-game surge from the Hope Valley Pair of Raelene Heitmann and Anthea Faull saw them pick up a singles, and then two fives to lead 11-9. A close tussle saw the Somerton pair emerge victorious setting up a final with the Payneham pair of Marie Roberts and Laini McGorman who were waiting on the other side courtesy of an unfortunate forfeit.
After a quick lunch, the players were ready and raring to go, the titles awaiting. The Women’s Champion of Champion Pairs between the pair of Marie Roberts and Laini McGorman and the team of Karen Sander and Maree Tumbas was locked early at 3 all after 6 ends, before the Payneham pair claimed a 4-3-4 in quick succession to set themselves in the box seat to see out the match. A last ditch attempt from the Somerton duo couldn’t quite pay off, with Marie Roberts and Laini McGorman becoming the 2017-18 State Women’s Champion of Champion Pairs titleholders with a 18-5 convincing win. The Men’s Final went down to the wire, with the game an absolute see-sawing affair with each team never more than two shots in front of the other. Salisbury’s Roger Ward (Snr) and Luke Pietersma went into the last end up 11-10, and when the dust settled the game yet again swung the other way with Jack Hateley and Gavin Pfeiffer taking two to win the 2017-18 State Men’s Champion of Champion Pairs crown with a 12-11 scoreline.
The two Champion of Champion Singles Matches were poised to be quality affairs, and neither match disappointed. The State Women’s Champion of Champion Singles saw Adelaide’s Sandy Wallace come out firing on all cylinders against Mallala’s Yvonne Kelly, blazing her way to a 13-2 lead. Kelly staged a comeback stringing four ends together to claw back at 9-15. The late challenge proved not quite enough, with Wallace rounding out the game and claiming the win 21-15, becoming the first winner of the newly-titled Riina Bradbrook Shield. The Men’s State Champion of Champion Singles match was an absolute battle for the ages, and kept all viewers, at the venue and on the live-stream, glued to the rink. The epic battle saw both Wayne Ruediger (Grange) and Brian Jenkins (Toorak-Burnside) taking it in turns to level the score, with the scoreline sitting at 14-15, Jenkins claimed a full count to swing the game in his favour 18-15. A few solitary shots apiece saw Ruediger down 17-20, when he then claimed a 3 to level the match at 20 all – an absolute thriller of an end ready and waiting for the many spectators. After kicking the end off between them, Jenkins drew an almost front hopper toucher, and Ruediger stepped on the mat with his last bowl and played with the perfect line and weight to drag the jack to the ditch and hold game. Jenkins tried hard to draw the shot but ultimately his bowl fell short and the 2017-18 Men’s State Champion of Champion Singles winner was crowned, with Wayne Ruediger going back to back and the epic game between the two competitors being a game for the ages.
Thus concluded the 2017-18 Champions Week 2, ably hosted at the Murray Bridge Bowling Club and thanks must go to the Rural City of Murray Bridge for their wonderful support of this event and State Event sponsors Lion Nathan. Events such as these cannot be a success without the support of all the volunteers, officials, markers, players and spectators, and thank you yet again to everyone involved.
For full results click here, and to re-watch the live-streamed games from this week’s event head to the Bowls SA Facebook page.