Not the usual suspects
Not your usual suspects gathered for the State Men’s Over 60s Pairs final, big on character and big on banter. State Men’s Over 60s Pairs GOLD: Geoff Hawken and Alan Elliott (Southport)
State Men’s Over 60s Pairs SILVER: Gary Groeger (Tarragindi) and Bob Marty (Wellington Point)
TIE-THIRD (semi finalists):
Ron Cronk and Kevin Higson (Wellers Hill)
Paul Burns and Alan Brown (Windsor)
There was a change of vibe in the Men’s Over 60s Pairs finals this year, with two time winners Nigel Smith and Nev Jenkins out of the running.
The cast of characters taking to the green for the semi finals kept the crowd entertained, for a long, long time, as the lads insisted they wanted to play out their 21 ends.
(BQ chairman Peter Williamson decided earlier not to enforce the 3hrs 45mins time limit and opted instead for a ‘no time limit’ policy on the finals series, which proved popular with most of the bowlers.)
The semis blew out to four hours, with a scoreline of 32-10 in the first semi, Geoff Hawken & Alan Elliott defeating Ron Cronk and Kevin Higson, and in the second semi, 28-12, as Gary Groeger & Bob Marty defeated Windsor Wombats Paul Burns & Alan Brown.
The problem with a super-long semi is that nobody was very keen to get back out there again for the final, but once Hawk-Eye was located, the Men’s Over 60s Pairs final finally got underway, the last rink to start, after the other three Pairs finals had started.
It was Southport’s Geoff Hawken and Alan Elliott (Patty’s husband) Versus Tarragindi’s Gary Groeger and Wellington Point’s Bob Marty.
The first few ends were very equal, until Elliott captured eight shots in two ends to go up 12-3 by the end of the 7th.
Marty pegged it back to 6-12 (9th), but they were nine shots behind again 8-17 by the 12th, and then the self-described “big characters” dominated three consecutive ends to close the gap to four shots behind, 13-17, on the 15th.
Marty tried an aeroplane whoop as he zig-zagged up the green to take a look at the head… “I learnt it from the kids,” Marty said,”that’s what they do, I thought I’d give it a try…”
With six ends to go, Marty needed to come up with something as big as his character!
But it was just more of the same, good bowls, two here, two there, the scoreline drawing to a steady conclusion, 13-20, 14-20, 16-20, 16-22, 18-22 and finishing at 19-22.
“We’re celebrating!” skip Alan Elliott said.
“We’ve worked out I’m a better skip than Hawkeye but he’s a better lead than me.”
And that’s the way they played it in the final and it worked out for them, the Southport duo very happy with their first State Over 60s Men’s Pairs title.
As they all sat down to a beer afterwards, runner up lead Gary Groeger wasn’t at all sure about the new State Champs superior status.
“Alan Elliott is just the luckiest bowler, he’s done it before, he’s had luck over me three times, but revenge is sweet, we’ll be back next year and we’ll get him,” Groeger said.
“I’m a better bowler and a better person…”
“Hmm, Gary Groeger and Bob Marty are big characters…” Elliott said.
The husband of the classy Patty Elliott said he would rather be lucky with Patty than in bowls, and that’s where we’ll leave this story, four blokes around a table on the deck of Tweed Heads Bowls Club, telling tall bowls stories, including one that featured a beetle coming up out of the green at the exact moment Groeger was trying to beat an Elliott bowl, foiling the plan.
“I told you, luck, he’s just lucky,” Groeger said of our new State Champion skip.