Braidan Leese, Connie-Leigh Rixon, Kane Nelson and Jess Srisamruayba are Qld’s 2014 junior singles champs. Queensland’s 2014 Junior State Championships came to a thrilling climax today, with four high-octane Singles finals on the Gold Coast.
Spectators were on the edge of their seats as the Boys U18, Girls U18, Boys U15 and Girls U15 finals were decided at Musgrave Hill Bowls Club.
Boys U18 Singles
After a week of near misses, Coolangatta apprentice greenkeeper Braidan Leese finally enjoyed his golden moment, with a 21-17 win over Hamilton’s Jesse Turnbull in the Boys U18 singles final.
Leese, who turns 18 next month, was determined to end his junior career with a bang and had originally hoped to collect all four titles at this year’s championships.
However, a one-shot loss in the Pairs final, followed by an 18-shot drubbing in the Fours final, put an end to his dreams of a clean sweep.
The wheels seemed to really come off his campaign in the Triples, with Leese’s boys dumped out in Round 1.
But the Australian junior rep came good in the Singles, where, with only himself to rely on, he stormed through sectionals and into the quarterfinal.
Once there he burned Jacob Nelson 21-16 to set up this morning’s semifinal showdown with 2013 Singles champ Brendan Wilson.
Determined to retain his title, Wilson matched Leese blow-for-blow through much of the clash, but with the scores locked up at 13-apiece, Leese launched a final assault, clocking up four straight ends, 2-1-2-3, to clinch the match, 21-13.
It was a similar story in the final, where Turnbull and Leese were evenly matched for much of the game…or at least until Leese noticed Turnbull was struggling with long ends.
After that he turned the screws and while Turnbull fought admirably, he couldn’t keep up, dropping the match 21-17.
It wasn’t all bad news for Turnbull however, with the Hamilton player named in Queensland’s new junior state squad.
U18 Girls Singles
Kawana girl Connie-Leigh Rixon ran away with the Girls U18 Singles title, despite a late fight back from Australian junior rep April Wilson (Helensvale).
Rixon raced out to an 11-1 lead in the title decider, as Wilson struggled to find her footing in the match.
The Helensvale ace did eventually get some points on the board, but she left her fight back much too late and Rixon was a comfortable winner, 21-11.
The Kawana champ was full of praise for her opponent, with whom she reached the final of the Pairs earlier this week.
“It was a lot tighter than the score suggests,” Rixon said after the match.
“April is an amazing player and it was a tough match. I think I just got a feel for the green a bit quicker.”
Both Rixon and Wilson were also named in the Queensland’s junior state squad, announced by state coach Bill Cornehls immediately after the finals.
U15 Boys Singles
In one of the tightest and most impressive games of the day, Cleveland pocket-rocket Kane Nelson overcame North Dalby’s Jake ‘Rhino’ Rynne to claim the Boys U15 title.
Nine-year-old Nelson peppered the jack all match for a 21-13 win, but the score belied a close game, with 10-year-old Rynne playing some equally impressive bowls.
In fact, the pair had possibly the tightest heads of all four finals, with Queensland coach Bill Cornehls and Commonwealth Games rep Brett Wilkie both blown away by the skills on display.
Despite missing out in the singles, it has been an amazing championship for Rynne, who claimed Pairs and Fours gold earlier in the week.
His achievements on the Coast earned the Dalby boy a call-up into Queensland’s new junior state squad alongside 15 more of Queensland’s top young bowler.
Winner Nelson missed out on a Queensland spot (although his older brother Jacob got the nod), but the nine-year-old is firmly in the sights of state and national selectors and if he keeps up his stunning form, it surely won’t be long before he dons the maroon (and maybe even the green and gold).
U15 Girls Singles
The U15 girls final was a completely one-sided affair, not because Binjour’s Brittanny Wiley was playing poorly, (she wasn’t, as was reflected in her call up to Queensland junior state squad), but because Tweed Heads sensation Jess Srisamruayba was on fire.
Srisamruayba put Capalaba’s Sophie Young to the sword in this morning’s semifinal, 21-7, and she served up a similar dose to Wiley in the final, 21-6.
Despite her huge win, apparently Srisamruayba had problems with the speed of the green.
“I found the green a bit difficult, so I didn’t play as well as I would have liked,” she said after the match.
You have to wonder what she’d be capable of if she hadn’t ‘struggled’ with the conditions!
The full Queensland Junior State Squad for 2014 is:
Girls: Sophie Young (Capalaba), Taleah Putney (Gayndah), Tiffany Murray (Miriam Vale), Rebbeca Rixon (Kawana), Connie-Leigh Rixon (Kawana), April Wilson (Helensvale), Brittanny Wiley (Binjour) and Michaela Bailey-Nelson (Helensvale). Boys: Jesse Turnbull (Hamilton), Nic Gosley (Beenleigh), Jake Rynne (North Dalby), Nathan Wilson (Ferny Grove), Michaela Bailey-Nelson (Helensvale), Hayden Vogler (West T’ba), Mitchell Mears (Algester), Jacob Nelson (Cleveland) and Dale McWhinney-Shillington (Burleigh Heads).