Talent pool runs deep
Gold Coast Tweed men and women have won Division One District Sides 2016, and men’s Div One runner up. It’s the team everyone wants to beat but even if you win a battle against the powerful Gold Coast Tweed district, you rarely win the war.
They just keep coming back, the talent pool so deep they could play any one of 100 bowlers and probably still come up with the same results.
DIVISION ONE – MEN
1st Gold Coast Tweed yellow
2nd Gold Coast Tweed teal
“We’re the team everyone wants to beat but the pressure is on the players to bowl to their potential and they did, this is our third year in a row,” men’s manager Vic Lord said.
Australia’s No 1 ranked bowler Ryan Bester for Gold Coast Tweed is an inspiration at District Sides not just for his bowls ability but the respect he shows to his fellow skips, especially those from far-flung districts who might feel a bit daunted.
“It’s my fifth year and I look forward to it every year,” the Canadian international based at Broadbeach said.
“I always say Australia is the best country in the world to play bowls in and competitions like District Sides show that, people come from all over the state to play bowls with the best against the best and everyone gets better each year for the experience.”
“It’s also really nice to play on the same team as great bowlers like Paul Girdler, Nigel Smith and Nev Jenkins, since I usually play against them in competitions like Premier League.”
GCT chairman Brian Marshall is now known as “the prophet” for his vision of his two beloved men’s Gold Coast Tweed District Sides facing each other in the Division One final and finishing No 1 and No 2.
Today it happened.
Four men’s sides, 16 bowlers in each, made the Div. One final after three days of rounds (Wed May 4 – Fri May 6) against 16 of the best bowlers from every bowls district in Queensland
The cream risen to the top was Gold Coast Tweed ‘yellow’, Gold Coast Tweed ‘teal’, Sunshine Coast and Brisbane North.
Brisbane North included the Hamilton Power boys, the recent Premier League Queensland champs, and if anyone had the raw talent to beat Gold Coast on a good day, it was the boys in maroon.
But GCT have built up such a thick armour of talent in recent years that the bullets simply bounce off them.
Nobody can get near them consistently enough to win a title.
Sunshine Coast had a moral victory, beating Gold Coast Tweed in their finals clash, but they didn’t beat everyone else, like the Gold Coast did.
The north coast boys didn’t have the same consistency as their southern counterparts.
“This is maybe my 10th District Sides and the best team won on the day, it always has, they were the best and they won,” Sunshine Coast manager George Lock said.
Gold Coast Tweed yellow was No 1 in the Men’s Div One, Gold Coast Tweed teal No 2 in Men’s Div One and Gold Coast Tweed No 1 in Women’s Div 1 – every team they entered rose to the top, the third consecutive win for the men and a back-to-back victory for the women.
DIVISION ONE – WOMEN
1st Gold Coast Tweed
Making the Women’s Division One final along with Gold Coast Tweed was Brisbane, Downs and Cunningham, with Brisbane finishing as Div One runner up.
Julie Keegan has moved coasts from Kawana to Broadbeach and played in her first District Sides for Gold Coast Tweed.
“I loved it, it was awesome, we all just gelled, everyone made me feel very welcome,” Keegan said.
Keegan, Wendy Wilson and Chrissie Pavlov skipped for the victorious Gold Coast Tweed side.
Gayndah’s Taleah Putney has recently joined the Helensvale stable and enjoyed her first District Sides.
“I learnt a lot playing for Wendy Wilson, and with Kristy Thatcher and Georgia White,” Putney said.
Putney is about to go from junior to senior ranks, turning 18 later this month.
DIVISION TWO – WOMEN
1st Sunshine Coast
2nd Central Queensland
Sunshine Coast women were unlucky not to make the Women’s Division One final but they made sure of Division Two, playing off for the title against Central Queensland, Wide Bay/Gympie and Bundaberg.
“We got three wins today in the final but we faced our challenges to get here, every match was tough, our record was win, draw loss, win, draw, loss so yes we were very keen to win today,” Sunny Coast’s Liza Burgess said.
Sunny Coast’s Jane Bush got an amazing toucher (pictured) at a critical time for her side in the rounds, sitting her bowl in a gravity-defying position on top of a Helen Bernardin-toucher for Brisbane North.
Minimising the loss allowed Sunshine Coast to squeak home against Brisbane North by two shots, confirming the Sunny Coast in Div 2 and relegating Brisbane North to Div 3 (which they won).
The Central Queensland girls were delighted with their second place in Div Two, sixth place overall.
“Well deserved, it’s awesome, a real feather in our caps,” manager Patricia Ward said.
DIVISION TWO – MEN
Bowls Queensland deputy chairman Kerry Green was invited to present the award to the Division Two winners and he couldn’t have been more proud and pleased with how things turned out, Downs on top in Division Two and he was part of the winning team.
For the Downs District president, it was a well-deserved and close result against Mackay (runners up), Gateway (BQ chairman Peter Williamson’s side – a bit of friendly rivalry) and Port Curtis.
DIVISION THREE – WOMEN
1st Brisbane North
2nd Tropical Far North Queensland
The four women’s teams in the Div Three final at Coolangatta had a challenge on their hands.
They had all won one game in the first two rounds, so the winner would come down to the final round, and probably the final ends, with the way they’d played their previous finals rounds.
Mackay was top of the ladder by six shots, looking for a win over Tropical Far North Queensland in the final game to win the title, while Brisbane North was hoping for a win against Caboolture, knowing they had to score an extra seven shots on top of Mackay’s total to win the title, assuming they both achieved a second win.
Fortune favoured Brisbane North, with TFNQ defeating Mackay and eliminating their main rival, but not by enough shots to become a threat themselves.
Brisbane North kept up their margins to more than 10 shots in both of their finals wins but TFNQ’s margins were half of that.
DIVISION THREE – MEN
1st Fraser Coast
Fraser Coast played Brisbane, Cunningham and Bundaberg for the Division Three title at Coolangatta, all tough competitors.
“It’s simply awesome, to win a flag in any division is great, but to win back to back was simply sensational in our eyes,” Fraser Coast’s John Walker said.
“What it means to us is that we are competitive and it shows that we have the bowlers in the Fraser Coast region to take on the challenge of beating the best players of other districts.
“We were beaten this year by Bundaberg by one shot, defeated Brisbane by 2 shots and then defeated Cunningham by 33 shots in the playoffs.
“All these teams finished above us last year.
“We are improving and the other districts now realise the Fraser Coast are not the ‘easy beats’ they once were.
“We have become more professional in our selection and management process and this is running through our teams execution.”
(Another thing the teams playing at Coolangatta Bowls Club appreciated? Drinks at member’s prices. Thanks, Coolangatta!)
DIVISION FOUR – WOMEN
2nd North Queensland
Gateway struggled in their final game but fortunately had enough points in the kitty to get them over the line in the Division Four title-fight at Twin Towns, beating Maranoa Warrego (delighted to win their first games at a District Sides, having previously won a rink but not a game), North Queensland and Burnett.
DIVISION FOUR – MEN
1st Tropical Far North Queensland
It could have gone either way, TFNQ or Condamine, but two ‘mooses’ by TFNQ (all eight bowls closest to the kitty) clinched the game for TFNQ.
TFNQ skip Ben Cribbin from Cairns Bowls Club said he likes playing District Sides because there is a competitiveness he doesn’t always get at home.
“It’s a sport that has allowed me to form life long friendships all over Australia,” Cribbin said.
“I enjoy the family feel and reunion of District Sides.”
DIVISION FIVE – WOMEN
1st Port Curtis
The Div 5 title was won by Port Curtis with Leichhardt second, over Condamine and Southern Downs.
Southern Downs brought two beautiful (tin) cockatoo mascots to District Sides, but unfortunately Connie and Conrad didn’t get them over the line.
DIVISION FIVE – MEN
1st North West QLD
Div 5 for the men is always a tough steak, with six challengers for one title.
(Due to the fact there are 21 BQ districts in the men’s comp. North West women don’t field a team at District Sides, so there are only 20 challengers in the women’s comp, but 21 for the men. To avoid a bye in the draw, the host district, in this case Gold Coast Tweed, fields a second team to keep all the men’s sides playing every round. But it makes finals day very busy and challenging for the sides who finish in the bottom six and end up in the Div 5 final.)
Facing up to the joy and power of funster Damien McGee’s North West side was runner up Caboolture, Leichhardt, Maranoa Warrego, Central Queensland and Burnett.