Somerville drive saves the day
State Men’s Fours Champs 2015 are John Thain, Jason Thomas, Fred Diamond, skip Troy Somerville, a one-shot win over Bill Gravett, Robert Ayres, Geoff Westall, skip Nev Wood-Bradley. Pic: All in together, back row, runner up skip Nev Wood-Bradley, runner up 2nd Robert Ayres, runner up third Geoff Westall, winning lead John Thain, winning third Fred Diamond, front row, runner up lead Bill Gravett, winning skip Troy Somerville (holding Shield), winning 2nd Jason Thomas.
The 2015 State Championship Men’s Fours final was a surprise in that the favourite going into finals day got booted out in the semis, by a crackerjack side of knockabout Kawana blokes led by the fearless Nev Wood-Bradley (formerly bowls coordinator at Kawana, now playing out of Broadbeach).
Ryan Bester’s dream team of Mark Thatcher, Sean Ingham, and Paul Girdler got an unexpected early pass, beaten 18-13 by the “cobbled together” Wood-Bradley unit, playing fearless and exciting bowls, leaving nothing in the tank.
Troy Somerville’s Coolum Beach boys won the second semi, 26-12, beating a different clutch of Kawana lads, skipped by Lee Fitzhenry.
So the two State Men’s Fours finalists were accidental teams in a way, but you wouldn’t have known it by the way they played the final.
The money was on Troy Somerville’s boys, a good strong lead in John Thain from Troy’s old club of Mooloolaba, and two of his Coolum Beach club mates, Jason Thomas to put some muscle in the middle, and former Northern Territory champ and Aussie champ Fred Diamond to patch up any damage, and set up the head for a final crack by the talented skip Somerville, formerly of Dapto Citizens, NSW, now bowls development officer at Coolum Beach.
The challenger was skip Nev Wood-Bradley, two Div 4 players from Kawana stepping up, “Birthday Boy” Bill Gravett and Robert Ayres, with Geoff Westall as No 3 (didn’t put a bowl wrong all day!)
The rinks at Tewantin Noosa drew plenty of champions to watch the finals (given that all the champions had already been booted out!)
It was a great final, Somerville looked the winner from the start, but Wood-Bradley just didn’t give up, the three purple shirted Kawana boys hustled in his support team, offering plenty of banter, and Wood-Bradley talking it up the whole time himself, plenty of trumpet-blowing, and why not, it was a state final, and they had every chance.
Somerville got away to a 5-1 start after three ends, but Wood-Bradley was back, 3-5 by the fourth.
At six ends, it was 7-6 to Somerville, at eight ends 10-6.
Wood-Bradley came back, by the half way mark, it was 10-10 (11 ends).
It was a long, hard game, some brilliant bowls, and a tussle for the head every turn; mostly Somerville taking the singles, to get to 16-12 after 16 ends, but then Wood-Bradley came back again, three shots on the 17th, to threaten again at 15-16.
In the final run for home, Somerville snuck ahead, 19-15 at the end of the 19th, the Wood-Bradley boys strong at minimizing losses, but time was ticking by; the shadows were getting long across the championships green at Tewantin Noosa, and the Coolum Beach boys were stretching out their lead…
Going into the final end, Somerville looked a certainty, 20-16, four shots in front.
But wouldn’t you know it, when it came time to roll his final bowl, he was a handful of shots down, certainly five, possibly six…Everyone was holding their breaths, would his drive save the day?
“Four in front, six down, Troy runs wide, hits widest shot, which kicks jack 15cm, for two down, and a win by one to the Coolum Beach boys,” was how commentator Jim See called it.
For Somerville, it was a great feeling to be on top in his new state of Queensland, having moved here from NSW two and a half years ago.
He won a NSW Men’s Fours championship in 2002, now he has a QLD one, in 2015.
“Amazing, it was great to achieve this with my mates, Jason is one of my “Gong Bro’s” (from Wollongong), I’ve known Fred for 20 years, he was best mates with my uncle in Darwin, we put our team together for State Champs with no expectation, but they’re great bowlers, a fantastic result, I’m just so pleased,” Somerville said.
“Ecstatic, couldn’t have done it with a better bunch of blokes,” Jason Thomas said.
“Not bad to have a win in Queensland…” Fred Diamond said.
“Fred OWNED the NT, “ Jim See said. (Fred won an Aussie Pairs title in the late 80s and Aussie Fours title in early 90s and just about every other title you could win in the Northern Territory, during 30 years there working as a tiler.)
And what does the Coolum Beach retiree like about bowls?
“WINNING!”, Diamond said.
The runner up Men’s Four’s skip couldn’t say enough about how fabulous his boys were.
“Absolutely fabulous today, it’s always good to get out there and pit yourself against the best, it was a joy to play against good opposition in these championships,” Nev Wood-Bradley said.
“The greens ran well, brilliant greens, and the standard of bowls was very, very good.”
Wood-Bradley is a former BQ bowls development officer, supported at these championships by his wife of two years Petrina, and playing with his former brother in law and best mate Robert Ayres (bowler Helen Wood-Bradley’s brother).
Ayres got an attack of gout for the first time on the eve of the championships and wasn’t sure if he’d even be able to play, but he’s glad he pressed on now.
And what was his favourite thing about the bowls final?
“The sledging!” he joked.
Wood-Bradley lead Bill Gravett turned 71 on finals day, and was pretty happy with a State Championships silver medal as a birthday present.
“Ya’ gotta have a good lead, and Bill did it for us today,” Nev said.
Third Geoff Westall’s bowls blew the spectators away, he had a top game, but modestly he said, “It was great team work, we almost had them…”