Your State Pairs Champs 2015, Sean Baker & Sean Ingham, Natasha Jones & Lynsey Clarke, Nigel Smith & Nev Jenkins, Rhonda Meng & Jenny Blundell. After 10 days of intense competition, Queensland’s 2015 State Championships reached a thrilling climax this afternoon, with some of the state’s top bowlers doing battle for Pairs glory at Tewantin Noosa.
The finals field was a mix of youth and experience, big names and virtual unknowns, former champions and newcomers…but when the dust settled on a high-octane afternoon, it was the favourites that had captured the titles.
Men’s Open Final
In the men’s open final, defending champs Sean Ingham (Broadbeach) and Sean Baker (Hamilton) notched up an 11-shot win over Toombul’s Rodney Sambrook and Darren Mullens, to claim their third State Pairs title in four years.
After falling behind early on, the Seans hit the front foot on the fifth end and refused to relinquish their lead for the rest of the match.
The blowout winning margin belied a tight tussle, with ones and twos keeping the scoreboard ticking over.
“It’s fantastic to win again,” Baker said after the match.
“It was a really tight game, the boys (Sambrook and Mullens) gave us a good fight, but Sean (Ingham) has been playing fantastic bowls and got us over the line.
“He was a freak out there today, he carried me that’s for sure.”
South Tweed’s old boys, Nigel Smith and Nev Jenkins, made a return to winning form in the men’s over-60s final.
The duo ruled the over-60s comp with an iron fist from 2011 to 2013 before being deposed by Ferny Grove’s John Fern and Bob Dobinson in 2014.
However the kings reclaimed their crown this afternoon, beating David Balchin and Dave Gardiner 18-10 with one end to spare.
Smith and Jenkins hit the ground running in the final, racing out to a 7-2 lead. Balchin and Gardiner battled valiantly to get in front, but every time they came close the South Tweed boys forged ahead, eventually clocking up an 8-shot win.
It was another former champion who clinched the title in the women’s open comp, with Jackaroos captain Lynsey Clarke guiding Queensland teammate Natasha Jones to State Pairs gold.
The duo enjoyed the biggest winning margin of the afternoon, whalloping Mt Gravatt’s Debbie Logan and Christine Baxter 24-12 in the final.
Jones and Clarke were up 14-2 after just six ends, making a comeback for the talented duo Logan and Baxter very unlikely.
To their credit, the Gateway pair never let their heads drop, giving it a red hot go, but the mountain was just too steep to climb.
“It was always going to be hard coming back from that score,” Baxter said after the match.
“It has been a great couple of weeks here on the Sunshine Coast, first playing District Sides and then State Championships.
“It’s a really tough competition, so we were really happy to reach the final. It would have been nice to finish with a win though!”
For Clarke the win marked State Pairs title number three, with the Helensvale ace winning the 2008-2009 championships alongside Julie Keegan (who she defeated in this year’s semi-final).
“It’s been a while since the last one, it’ll be nice to get my name on the shield again,” Clarke said.
Not that the Aussie star has any shortage of state titles.
“I think this might be number 13 overall. But it’s always a tough competition, so you never take it for granted and you definitely never get tired of winning.”
In the women’s over-60s, sisters Rhonda Meng and Jenny Blundell claimed a long-awaited state title.
“It’s really, really exciting, Rhonda and I have been playing in the state championships for a long time, but this is the first title we’ve won together” said Blundell, who won the Singles crown in 2012.
The duo had to bring their A-game to beat Kawana’s Merrill Kerss & Marie Williams in the final, 23-14.
The teams were neck-and-neck in the early stages, with the sisters just two in front by the 12th end, 13-11.
One on the 13th marked the start of their sprint for the finish line, with Meng and Blundell racking up 10 shots over the next seven ends to wrap up the final with one end to spare.
“State championships are alway a bit of a family affair for us,” Blundell said.
“We used to always play with our mother and auntie, and we still play in the triples with our other sister Mel.
“It’s a great competition and we love getting together to play every year. To finally win with one of my sisters is brilliant.
“It would have been nice to get the triples as well, but it’s ok…there’s always next year.”