Bushrangers bag State Pennant title
North Toowoomba boys beat powerhouse Pine Rivers for State Pennant crown North Toowoomba claimed Queensland’s State Pennant title this afternoon, beating four-time champions Pine Rivers in a nail-biting finale on the Gold Coast.
It was a fairytale ending for the Bushrangers, in their debut appearance at the state finals, with the result going down to the wire at Tweed Heads.
Despite leading throughout the match, the Bushies were far from comfortable, with Pine Rivers’ star-studded outfit snapping at their heels all afternoon.
And it wasn’t just their opposition the Toowoomba boys had to overcome, with squally, humid conditions on the Coast making the green hard to handle at times.
The Pirates, who had challenging section at this year’s championships, were slight favourites heading into today’s title match.
But while they scratched out wins over Club Helensvale and Indooroopilly yesterday, and battled Souths Suburban to a draw this morning, their luck ran out against the Bushies, with North Toowoomba hanging on for a 56-54 win.
“This is the first time the boys have ever made the state finals and they’re absolutely over the moon, it’s amazing,” an extremely happy North Toowoomba team manager, Graham Elton, said after the final.
“We always thought we’d be competitive. We’ve got a strong team in Toowoomba, especially with Super Challenge, and we’ve got a great, hard-working bunch of blokes, so we knew we’d give it a good go.”
While Elton was full of praise for his team, lead Jimmy Williams was singled out for his impressive performance at Tweed.
“Jimmy was fantastic, he played great bowls and was a very solid lead throughout, and that’s what you need in these types of championships,” Elton said.
Williams’ skip, former state rep Jason Grundon, agreed.
“Jimmy was just exceptional all weekend. Young Nathan Appleton too, he’s a player of the future. He’s going to go a long way in the sport,” Grundon said.
“The way the draw worked out, with Pine and Helensvale on one side and we were on the other, it gave us an opportunity and a bit of confidence to push through the section, but we still had to do it and we were still playing very good teams.
“I think getting on top of Kawana yesterday was a big win for us. They had some pretty vocal supporters, but we got on top early and stayed on top and that was the key, because they were probably the toughest game in our section.
“Having said that, Gladstone played awesome against us this morning, I think that game put us in pretty good stead for this afternoon.
“Overall it’s been a great weekend and a fantastic win for the boys. We’re really happy,” Grundon said.
North Toowoomba 56 def 54 Pine Rivers
Jason Grundon 19 def Robert Wild 16
Graeme Kath 19 def by Kurt Brown 23
Gavin Bradford 18 def Alex Murtagh 15
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