District Sides Finals 2015 – Clash on the Coast
Gold Coast and Brisbane North joint favourites to take the title, but Sunshine Coast has a point to prove, while Bundy is hoping to slip under the radar as the big boys stare each other down. Brisbane North and Bundaberg made good use of the final day of sectionals at District Sides, leap-frogging their opposition to snatch Division 1 berths at the 2015 finals on the Sunshine Coast tomorrow (8.50am kick-off at Tewantin Noosa Bowls Club).
The Brissie boys went into this morning’s Round 7 clash with North Queensland in third spot on the Section A ladder and on track for a Division 2 finish.
But a 95-33 drubbing of NQ got their last-ditch effort off to a good start, while Caboolture also fell before the Brisbane North onslaught, 72-47, setting up showdown with second place Cunningham in Round 9.
Like Brisbane North, Cunningham came through eight rounds with just one loss (to section leaders Gold Coast Tweed) so it was all on the line in their do-or-die clash at Pacific Paradise Bowls Club.
But with five-time champions Brisbane North boasting an all-star line-up, including Michael Breen, Sean Baker, Kurt Brown, Alex Murtagh, Aaron Hewson and Steve Tong, it was always going to big ask for Cunningham.
The western-suburbs Brisbane boys gave it their best shot, staying in touch with their big-name rivals, but in the end Brisbane North firepower blazed brightest, as they opened up a 20-shot lead on Cunningham, to be justly rewarded 75-55 with the coveted Division 1 play-offs berth, and a shot at another title.
(The Brisbane North boys would think it karma, back in the biggest game in town, after their shock relegation to the Div 2 play-offs last year, by a whisker.)
In Section B, Bundaberg started the day in third behind Mackay, but got off to a terrible start, suffering a shock defeat at the hands of North West Queensland in Round 7.
North West had just one win to their name heading into this morning’s clash, but they were gritty to the end, securing a one-shot victory over the Bundy boys, 70-69.
Luckily for Bundaberg, Mackay’s Round 7 loss to Sunshine Coast A kept them in the race, and things improved for them after the break.
While Bundy clocked up a 78-54 victory over Central Queensland, Mackay dropped their second match of the day, a one-shot defeat to Gateway, 64-63.
It was a heart-breaking loss for Mackay, which ultimately cost them their shot at the Harry Wright Memorial Shield.
Not even their half-hearted 67-62 win over Central Queensland was enough to earn them a spot in Division 1, with Bundaberg one point clear in second place following their own Round 9 victory, a 64-45 win over Condamine.
Despite their success in reaching the finals, Bundy will be underdogs going into tomorrow’s Div 1 play-offs.
Defending champs Gold Coast Tweed and host district Sunshine Coast were a level above, slashing their way through sectionals undefeated, the title expected to go to one or the other tomorrow.
Gold Coast Tweed has dominated the men’s comp in recent years, boasting nine District Sides titles since 2002.
The only other team to etch its name on the shield in that time has been Brisbane North, with the other four wins on the board.
However, playing on their home turf may give Sunshine Coast that little bit of extra confidence they will need tomorrow, as they go in search of their first District Sides Division 1 win since 1997. (They’ve been runner-up three times since 2008.)
Division 1 — Tewantin Noosa
Gold Coast Tweed, Sunshine Coast A, Brisbane North, Bundaberg
Division 2 — Coolum Beach
Cunningham, Gateway, Brisbane, Mackay
Division 3 — Pacific Paradise
Fraser Coast, Port Curtis, Downs, Tropical Far North Queensland.
Division 4 — Club Maroochy
Southern Downs, Condamine, Caboolture, Central Queensland
Division 5 — Caloundra
Maranoa/Warrego, Sunshine Coast B, Burnett, North West Queensland, Leichhardt, North Queensland.
2015 District Sides finals kick off at 8.50am (Wed, May 5). Click here to visit the event information page for full sectional results.
Caption: Brisbane North assistant team manager Ken Hardy is pretty pleased with his team’s efforts at reaching Division 1 play-offs.