Murray Steamers (Moama NSW) win APL02
New kids on the block, the Moama Bowling Club-backed MURRAY STEAMERS are APL champs for 2015. Adelaide Endurance is runner-up again. Host club Pine Rivers says “Bring on APL03!” Murray Steamers have defied the odds and secured a momentous victory at the $110,000 Australian Premier League, relegating the Adelaide Endurance to a consecutive runner-up finish.
Despite having to contend against six origin teams, and the second expansion franchise Gold Coast Hawks, the Moama Bowling Club-aligned Steamers cut a swath through the opposition during four days of sectional and live Fox Sports broadcast rounds.
Boasting two genuine international heavy-hitters within their contingent, including arguably the best bowler in the world, Scotland’s Alex Marshall, and Canadian ace Ryan Bester, alongside Moama local Michael Walker, the Steamers were heavily backed by pundits pre-tournament to go the distance in their inception year, and support swelled after the border-town team finished the round-robin matches in second position, with eight wins from 14 rubbers.
The Adelaide Endurance again proved they shouldn’t be underestimated on the national stage, after causing a stir in the first APL02 semi-final by eliminating top-of-table New Zealand Blackjacks during a live broadcast encounter, to secure passage to the ultimate decider, but came unstuck for a successive year on the final hurdle.
After accounting for the Perth Suns 6-3, 4-all in the second semi-final, the Steamers lit up the Club Pine Rivers carpet in the final, capitalising on the obvious advantage of having just come off the rink moments earlier.
After counts on four successive ends, and a 6 shot-margin, the $40,000 first prize cheque and APL02 silverware appeared destined to be heading back to the border town, with the final scoreline of 6-2, 5-3 just a formality.
After being crowned champions, Alex Marshall was given further cause for celebration, named the APL02 Most Valuable Player; a honour won in 2013 by Endurance star Scott Thulborn.
“I’ve enjoyed every single minute of this,” Marshall said after the event.
“I’ve never played in an atmosphere like this before, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it.
“Back home they would not believe what happened, I’ll certainly be taking a few DVDs back to show them.”
The Australian Premier League will head back to Brisbane’s Club Pine Rivers next year, while the sport’s clubland spin-off format, Jack Attack, was officially unveiled by ambassador Alicia Molik in a pro-am session live on Fox Sports.
Jack Attack emulates the style of play of the revolutionary APL and brings it directly to clubland, where club bowlers can capitalise on its social, fast past format to help boost participation, by appealing to people opposed to playing in longer formats like Pennant, and providing a more structured competition than Barefoot Bowls.
The Jack Attack program is intended to be run as a six to eight week competition, staged ideally on a midweek evening, in the format of two bowl-triples, with substitutions permitted, two sets of five ends, a sudden death tie-breaker if required, and a duration of play of just 60-75 minutes.
For more information on Jack Attack, head to jackattack.com.au, and to catch a replay of the APL02 semi-finals and finals, turn into Fox Sports 3 at 6.00am AEDT or Fox Sports 2 at 12.00pm.
– Report by Bowls Australia