Intense competition draws top bowls
The 2013 All Schools Challenge Cup serves up an entertaining day’s play at Pine Rivers. Thirteen district winners took their place in the All School Challenge Cup today as the sunshine brought out the best in these school teams. With semi-final places awaiting the young players played to win with some personal performances bringing widespread appreciation.
The first round saw home side Pine Rivers, James Wakefield and Alex Thompson, suffer defeat to debutants Craigslea, 9-13 1-21. James had a plan, “Yeah, we thought we’d go in hard but the heat and the wind made it uncomfortable.” But Wakefield praised his opponents, “We played terrible the second game but they did well, they got the track early, just knowing where to play it.” The pair are confident about their final game late this afternoon, “It’s quick because of the tight carpet but we practise late afternoon so hopefully we can get a win.”
Section 2 saw Mackay open with a victory against Centenary Heights, 10-7 11-5, but the boys were cautious. “It was ok but we lacked consistency,” offered Thomas McFarlane. His partner, Thomas Bugeja, put it down to the greens, “They’re much quicker here than in Mackay, it took some time to adjust.” McFarlane said it took him most of the first set.
Smithfield showed early intent in Section 3 with a solid display against sibling pair Robert and Jacinta Weier, 14-8 15-4. Jacinta’s great display not enough to put Petch and Styles off their stride. Shalom College also racked up a dominant display beating Rockhampton 12-6 14-2.
Sunshine Coast and Clifton went into a tie break after finishing one a piece, Clifton taking the first 10-6 but Coast came back 14-5. The tie-break was tense but Clifton came out 2-0 winners.
Burnett girls Annika Darlington and Aymee Bellert were confident heading into their section. The Burnett district winners were not put off with having a bye for the first round. “It doesn’t bother us,” said Bellert. Unused to playing undercover and on synthetic greens held no fears for her pre-game, “I prefer slower greens, where we play at home is grass.” The pair are expecting to do well and have high hopes of being on the playing tomorrow. “It’s exciting being here and I think we’ll go pretty good,” smiled Annika.
Another all girls pair also had a bye, Pacific Pines duo Paige Bailey and Michaela Bailey-Nelson in Section 4. Paige felt confident, “The bye makes it harder, the other teams know the green better than we do already. But it’s exciting and I’m looking forward to it.” Michaela has no expectations, “I’m quite happy to see where it goes but we are hoping to play well.” The girls had already put psychological tactics to use by chatting to the opposition boys early on.
In round two Craigslea beat Burnett to seal a spot in tomorrow’s finals, running out 13-8 21-2 victors. A bye for Round 3 gave the debutants plenty of time to relax before their semi-final showdown.
A 4-0 tie-break win for Centenary Heights gives them a chance to make the finals. After losing the first set 10-6 to St. Anthony’s the Heights came back strongly 13-3 and then stormed to a tie- break triumph.
Over in Section 3, Smithfield continued their strong form with a win over Rockhampton, 15-3 13-3. Hervey Bay beat Shalom College 6-6 14-3, with dazzling bowls from Jacinta Weier drawing applause from the spectators around the green.
Sunshine Coast had a bye as Pacific Pines started their tournament with a victory over Clifton 15-6 20-4, which left Section 4 very close for progression to the finals, the girls playing consistently good bowls.
The atmosphere became tense as the air cooled for the mid-afternoon start of round three as all teams vied for a semi-final berth. Pine Rivers hopes dipped with the temperature as they lost their first set 8-6 to Burnett, but a closely fought second set also ended in defeat, 10-8, as both teams exited the tournament as Craigslea progressed.
A hard fought contest saw St. Anthony’s beat Mackay 8-12 8-9 and move through the tight section as winners.
Fantastic bowls was being played all through the round but again Jacinta Weier stood out. Her performance was enough to seal a win, 11-8 13-4 against Rockhampton, it wasn’t enough to gain a place in tomorrow’s finals. It was the solid Smithfield who take that place, a 6-12 9-7 draw with Shalom led to a tie-break. Petch and Styles showing nerve and determination to win 5-1.
Pacific Pines and Sunshine Coast drew 6-10 12-4 at the bell, allowing Pines to move into the semis. But this contest was keenly fought with the spectators and players applauding some fantastic bowling from both teams.
Tomorrow’s semi-final line up is Craigslea v St. Anthony’s and Smithfield v Pacific Pines. The action resumes at 9am.