SA Super League First Round of Finals Results
After a drizzly day in Adelaide the skies cleared for the SA Super League finals at the Salisbury Bowling Club. The line-up for the evening promised to provide endless entertainment and the action on the green certainly lived up to the hype.
In the Semi Final a direct spot in the Grand Final was at stake as the minor premier Heysen Comets matched up against the South Eastern Spartans who earnt their spot after finishing in second position after the minor rounds. Both coaches opted for experience in their line ups to try and secure a win at the pointy end of the competition. The Heysen Comets tasked Ashley Halls with the singles responsibility and he was matched up against Blake Fiebig for the Spartans. Both players had won more games than they had lost throughout the Super League and it was a matchup of two powerful forces. Halls started the stronger drawing well and taking his opportunities to race to a 12-3 lead after 8 ends. With the overall scoreboard in the balance every shot was critical and Fiebig gritted his teeth and worked his way into the game the further it went. At the conclusion of the 18 ends Halls remained the stronger player as he secured a 19-13 victory for the Comets. In the Pairs the Comets sent out a dynamic combination of young gun Grace Moloney with Aussie rep Scott Thulborn. The team would need to be at the peak as they were faced off against the Spartans ace pair in their deck of Nathan Black and Tyson Wilson who were undefeated in their time paired together in the competition. The young Spartans combo again showed they were the finds of the competition as they gelled beautifully with consistent drawing and powerful drives and despite the best efforts of the Comets duo proved too strong as they took a 25-13 victory for the Spartans. After the singles and pairs the overall game was still firmly in the balance and the triples was proved to be a crucial piece of the puzzle. The Comets selected Damon Edmunds, Ben Harris and James Gregory who were matched up against Scott Binns, Tony Devlin and Ken Holtham for the Spartans. The Comets started strongly and pushed to an 11-2 lead, before the Spartans trio began to reel them in. At the pointy end of the game, the teams entered the final end with only two shots separating them on the overall scoreboard as they were the last rink out on the green. A number of bowls converged on the head and despite a great effort from Gregory the Spartans secured two shots which would see them secure a 54-50 overall victory despite an 18-16 triples rink win to the Comets. This gave the South Eastern Spartans direct passage to next week’s Grand Final whilst the Heysen Comets were relegated to the Preliminary final.
On the other side of the green the Elimination Final fired up with the Northern Knights taking on the Central Chargers. The teams opted for slightly different line ups to what they had showcased throughout the minor rounds with some changes due to necessity and some to create a bit of flair. In the Singles the Knights opted for Todd Brand to play his first singles game of the competition and was matched up against Steven Dennis of the Chargers also playing his first game in the singles. Both players put on a show with an extremely tough back and forth affair which saw scores locked at 5-5 after 7 ends. Dennis then began a string of ends which saw him open up a 15-7 lead before Brand produced a strong finish to close the gap. At the completion Dennis recorded a 15-14 victory for the Chargers in a very high quality affair. In the Pairs Bernie Ward and Luke Pietersma took position for the Knights against Fergus Rowntree and Mark Haines for the Chargers who are beginning to become a formidable combination in their own right. An energetic Haines fed off the enthusiasm of under 18 player Rowntree and they opened up a 15-7 lead. In a similar story to the singles the experienced Knights combination fired back late to close the gap and keep the overall scoreboard within reach however It was a little too late for the rink win as the Chargers secured a 16-15 victory. With two wins in the bank for the Chargers it was left to the triples for the Knights to try and wrestle back the overall scoreboard. Jack Trenorden, Darren Warner and Kane Coulls for the Knights took point against Helen Minhard, Ben Bowman and Renata Callisto for the Chargers. In a very high quality affair each player had turns of changing the head and having the jack on a string which made for great viewing. At the completion of the game the Chargers again proved too strong as they recorded a 23-12 triples victory which upon completion provided them with a 55-42 overall victory and propelled them into a tantalizing preliminary final match up with the Heysen Comets.
The coaches had a quick moment to strategize and select their line ups for the cut throat preliminary final between the Heysen Comets and the Central Chargers. The Heysen Comets made three changes to their line ups whilst the Chargers stuck true and selected the same team in a bid to reach next week’s Grand Final against the South Eastern Spartans.
The Singles was always set to be a tight match-up, with Ashley Halls lining up once again for the Comets as did Steven Dennis for the Chargers, both coming off quality matches. Halls got the jump on Dennis early and whilst the heads were tight and the scores close, Halls always kept his nose just in front and a four on the last end cemented the win to the Comets 17-12. The Triples game saw the Comets with Jackie Gardiner, Ben Harris and James Gregory and the Chargers with Helen Minhard, Ben Bowman and Renata Callisto lining up. The Chargers were out early claiming the first four ends straight, before the Comets got on the board with a two. The match up continued to be a close tussle and with the Chargers up two going into the last end, the Comets called their final Super End and claimed a solid three in the final end converting to a six which propelled the Comets into the box seat, not only taking the triples discipline 21-17 but at a crucial time bringing the game back into the Comets favour.
The final discipline saw the live-stream game of the pairs on the show rink, with the fresh pairing of Ian Miller and Darren Niblett coming off the bench for the Comets, whilst Fergus Rowntree and Mark Haines were again the Chargers duo fresh off another win in the elimination final. The warmed-up Chargers pairing of Rowntree and Haines made the early mark, up 12-2 after 5, the tussle continued with the score sitting at 18-10 after 14, before the Comets’ Miller and Niblett started hitting their straps and with the match sitting in the Comets favour, the Chargers pair called their final Super End to attempt to wrest the grand final spot from the Comets grasp, and their valiant efforts fell short with the Comets setting up a showdown with the South Eastern Spartans in the Grand Final with a 58-47 victory.
The culmination of the 2018 SA Super League will be held at Salisbury Bowling Club next Sunday 9 September, pre-game events commence with the Best & Fairest count live-streamed from 10.30am, pre-match entertainment starting from 12.00pm and the Grand Final starting at 1.00pm.
Full results and previous matches can be found by clicking here.