Forces of nature!
Sharks gobble up the Gulls, while Hawks fly into a storm. South Tweed and Club Kawana crowned Queensland’s 2014 State Pennant Champions. Tweed Heads became the centre of Queensland’s bowling universe this afternoon, as four of the state’s most formidable club sides went head-to-head in an explosive finale to the 2014 State Pennant Finals.
In the men’s final, two star-studded outfits from South Tweed and Wynnum Manly slugged it out for the coveted flag in front of a full house at Tweed.
For the women, Club Kawana and Club Helensvale battled it out in a high-octane clash-of-the-coasts match.
Boasting a bucket-load of big names, the South Tweed Sharks and Wynnum Manly Seagulls were red-hot favourites to reach the final from Day 1.
And they didn’t disappoint, with both sides blasting their way through sectionals undefeated and into this afternoon’s title match.
Once there, it was one of the youngest players on the paddock that proved the difference between the sides, with Dean McWhinney, 23, skipping his South Tweed outfit of Dan Smith, Phil Brandon, and Dean Smith to a massive 22-shot win over Jason Hoy’s Gulls, 32-10.
Sharks super-skip Kelvin Kerkow clocked up a second rink-win for the locals, edging out Brendon Egan, 25-18.
But with Neville Jenkins going down to Wynnum Manly’s Jamie Nordlof, 13-21, McWhinney’s win was vital to South Tweed’s first-ever State Pennant victory, 70-49.
“Feels good!” the always-modest McWhinney said.
“The boys have played really well all season, they’ve been awesome to play with.”
South Tweed’s Nigel Smith said he was “over the moon”.
“These are rare events, we lost only one rink in four games this weekend, a fantastic result, young McWhinney was amazing, you might only get a win like this once in 20 years, just superb,” Smith said.
It was a similar story in the women’s final, with Club Kawana’s Louise Witton blowing Helensvale’s Rosie Lovelock off the green to seal a 62-50 win for the Thunderbirds.
It was a nightmare start for Lovelock, with the Hawks skipper down 21-zip after just seven ends.
But the Queensland rep launched a ferocious fightback, notching up nine of the last 13 ends to give the score-line a little respectability, 31-14 to Kawana.
It was neck-and-neck on the other rinks, with Pam Rowe maintaining a slim lead over Kawana’s Jane Bush throughout their match, for a 15-11 Helensvale win.
“We were up against Club Helensvale’s young guns, we just tried to keep the drop to only one, we lost 15 ends of one,” Jane Bush said.
Meanwhile, Hawks talisman Lynsey Clarke had an awesome arm-wrestle with former Aussie teammate Julie Keegan.
After getting off to a strong start, Clarke’s girls slipped behind, but were soon back nipping at Keegan’s heels for the rest of the match, and very happy to finally secure a second rink win for the Hawks powerhouse, 21-20.
“We worked hard for that rink win (Helensvale won two out of three rinks in the final) but we know it comes down to what’s on the master board, and congratulations to Club Kawana,” Clarke said.
“We’re a tight unit (at Helensvale), we have our ups and downs, but we never throw in the towel, we always back each other up and support each other, so we know we did the best we could today, and we’ll be fine tomorrow.”
“It’s been such an amazing weekend, I’m just so happy, it’s absolutely super, a super, super, bunch of ladies to play with,” Kawana’s deserving player of the series Witton said.
Kawana skip Julie Keegan said training under super coach Ian Schuback made the difference to Kawana this year.
“We train hard, it really makes a difference, the girls were a lot more confident, we got off to a really great start, Whaoo…!” Keegan said.
“I feel as happy as when I won the world title,” Schuback said, of the Kawana girls first-ever State Pennant win.
“We won by 12 shots, and honestly, I’ve never been so nervous in my life.
“And if you think I was nervous, you should have seen Fay (manager Fay Whittaker).
“She said to me, “S*** Shuey, I’m just in awe of Louie!”
Host club Tweed Heads manager Paul Girdler said he’d never seen such a great crowd at the club for a State Final.
“We get crowds like this for Nugget, it’s fantastic to see, everyone’s stayed to see these four great teams play off, and the supporters have made the event extra special,” Girdler said.
Club Helensvale’s Teresa Armitage said it was the crowd that made this year’s State Pennant final so spectacular.
“There was so much noise, our supporters V Kawana’s supporters, it was back and forth and it was so loud, it really lifts you, it was so exciting to play a final like this, it felt like I was on the field at an AFL final!”
See State Pennant report in December Bowler.