He walks among us
Canadian international and Australia’s No 1 ranked bowler Ryan Bester claims his third consecutive State Men’s Singles title. Gold medal: Ryan Bester (Broadbeach)
Silver medal: Robert Cresswell (Logan City)
When you see Canadian international Ryan Bester play bowls, you know why he’s touted as potentially “the best bowler in the world”.
He strikes fear into the heart of anyone in his ‘draw’ but also sparks challenge, because if it’s one bowler everyone likes to beat, it’s Bester.
The wonderful surprise about this year’s Men’s Singles final is that Logan City’s Robert Cresswell ended up there, and proved in front of a full house why he had made it, not by a series of luck, but by playing really exceptional and skilful bowls.
It looked like it might be a bit of an anti-climax of a final when Bester had powered away 6-2 after 5 ends, but two ends later, Cresswell was back, 5-6.
He stuck to Bester like glue, always trailing, but close enough to remain within striking distance, should Bester falter.
The game ground on, pretty much only a single every end, including a string of them to Cresswell from the 23rd end, when he started out down 11-17 and ended up in a draw, 17-17.
Unfortunately Bester has the strike of a cobra and on the 30th, he took his opportunity and picked up four, 21-17.
A lesser bowler might have given up but not Cresswell.
He got within two shots by the 33rd end, 20-22, but that’s as close as he got, the busy Bester grinding away 23-20, 23-21, 24-21.
It’s a place you never want to be in a final, on ‘match point’ against Bester, scrambling to prevent the fall of the hammer.
In the final end, with two Bester bowls hugging the eastern side of the kitty, Cresswell unleashed three drives but still Bester’s bowls snuggled stubbornly, exactly where he had placed them.
The final score was declared to Bester, 25-21 (because he only needed one to win).
“I always enjoy playing singles (especially with no re-spot of the jack), it suits me because I like the draw shot and the drive, and not everyone can do both well,” Bester said.
Cresswell said his bowls has got a lot better since he retired five years ago.
“I used to be a bit ‘toey’ but I’m more relaxed now, I like a nice quick green and these greens were great, I felt very comfortable out there,” Cresswell said.
The former New Zealand dairy farmer from Hamilton (NZ) said he enjoys “good tough bowls” and that’s what he got today, and it’s what he gave back, to the appreciation of the crowd.
State Men’s Singles 2016
Tie Third (semi finalists): Kevin Anderson (Broadbeach), John Balzarolo (Tweed Heads)
Quarter finalists: Justin Cribbin (Jubilee Townsville), Ian Law (Burleigh), Gary Pearson (Burleigh Heads), Trent Healey (Pine Rivers Memorial)
Photo and story Naomi Cescotto