What a cracker!
Jessie Cottell, Kay Cavanagh, Maria Rigby and Ester Regan win cracker of a title fight in 2016 State Women’s Fours Photos and story Naomi Cescotto
Gold medal: Jessie Cottell, Kay Cavanagh, Maria Rigby, Ester Regan.
Silver medal: Maree Gibbs, Gail Waitai, Christine Baxter, Debbie Logan.
The Queensland State Women’s Fours final was a cracker of a game, with both sides in an equally strong position to win, as skip Debbie Logan picked up the final bowl and made a decision to drive rather than go for a draw shot.
When the game kicked off, it looked like Logan might deny Regan’s dream of a State Fours title to follow up her State Singles win earlier in the week.
Logan posted first points and was up 4-0 when Regan clicked into gear on the 5th, signalling ‘game on’ with a four shot haul, pulling into the lead, 7-6.
The Logan rink was stuck on 7 between the 8th and 11th ends, Regan managing to double the score 15-7, as the half way mark loomed.
Logan got her skates on, taking four shots on the 12th end, and then it was the Regan rink’s turn for frustration, being stuck on 15 for the next five ends.
Logan had the upper hand by the 15th, 17-15, and then casually picked up another five on the 16th, 22-15, looking like it was definitely going to be her day.
But it’s bowls and it’s a final and when you have mercury in your side like Maria Rigby, 15 year old Jessie Cottell with the discipline and work ethic of the national champion dancer she was, and loyal Kay Cavanagh, fired up with gratitude to both Riggers and Ester for being by her side when she had some dark days, and coaxing her back into the sport in their team for these State Champs, all it took was a pep talk from the skip to remind them why they were all there and why they wanted to win.
“I pumped them up, I told them we still could make it, and that’s all it took,” Regan said.
Two drops of five and the score went from 22-15 against Regan to 25-22 in front, with three ends to go.
The crowd at Tweed Heads was enjoying a great show, not only the Women’s Fours being so close and exciting, but also a thriller in the final of the Men’s Singles a few rinks over.
Instead of panicking about losing 10 shots in two ends, Logan’s rink simply played themselves back into the game, taking three on the 19th to level the score 25-25, with two ends to go.
Regan won the next end 26-25 but things were looking shaky on the final end.
A Gail Waitai pearler knocked Cottell’s shot bowl out of the way, for three to Logan
Fortunately for the Regan team, a divine drive by Riggers saved the day, and gave them shot, end, match, title, 27-25.
For Regan, the 2016 State Women’s Fours title was cream on the top of her State Women’s Singles win earlier in the week.
“I would love to play a (fours) game like that again, it was a cracker,” Regan said, hoisting the Shield.
“It was a thrill to play against Ester, we gave it a good shake, that’s for sure,” Logan said.
Logan said it was the first time her four had played together and she would love them to play together again next year, if it suited everyone.
“The played beautiful bowls, they gave me a great ride,” Logan said of her incredibly talented and compatible team, lead Maree Gibbs from Milmerran, Gail Waitai from Broadbeach and best bowls mate Christine Baxter from Mt Gravatt.
The two Mt Gravatt besties will line up for the State Women’s Pairs sectionals tomorrow (Friday May 20).
“I’d like to say we were “saving ourselves” for the Pairs, but that might be a bit cheeky…” Logan said, proudly accepting her State Fours silver medal.
Regan’s No 2 Kay Cavanagh from Sandgate never doubted for a minute the Regan combination would fire.
“I know Jessie from playing at Broadbeach and Riggers and Ester are just my best friends; I had a breakdown four years ago and they were there for me, they got me back into bowls, only this year, they asked me to come and play with them, they are just the kindest and best people, and look what we’ve achieved,” Cavanagh said.
Regan was grateful to her team for giving her a second state title in a bowls year in which she’s done incredibly well, ranked No 1 women’s bowler in Queensland, and in the top 10 nationally, in the BA rankings.
“Clearly, I couldn’t have done it without them,” Regan said, giving her team a big hug.
All of today’s Women’s Fours finalists will be back tomorrow in the Pairs, Cavanagh will lead for Regan, Rigby with team up with her Australian Open silver medal winning skip Jackie McWhinney, Jessie Cottell will skip for bestie Rebecca Rixon and Gail Waitai will skip for Maree Gibbs.
Semi Final – Regan V Millerick
The was a similar spectacular finish in the Regan-Millerick semi final.
With Regan holding shot, a Millerick drive managed to break things up a bit with the jack coming to a halt close to the edge of the ditch, Millerick now holding shot, but with plenty of room for Regan to move.
All Regan had to do was find correct weight to put her bowl closer, without ending up in the ditch, which she achieved.
The last bowl was Millerick’s call.
She could have chosen a draw shot because she does them so well, and it wasn’t like Regan’s bowl was hugging the kitty, but she chose to drive, which she also does with excellence, but this time, she missed, sending Regan through to the final.
“The drive had been working for me, but not this time,” Millerick said sadly.
The long time combo of Cass Millerick, Lynn Long, Karen Goldsworthy and Bolivia Millerick may return in a different lineup next year, with Lynn saying it might be time for her to retire, and play some Over 60s.
The lineup goes back to when all the girls met each other playing bowls in Bundaberg.
The twins, then about 15, asked the experienced hands Lynn and Karen to play fours with them and they’ve enjoyed many happy years playing together.