They picked their team on friendship and won the state title, 2016 Champion of Club Champion Men’s Fours. Powerhouse club Helensvale is used to winning state titles but this one was special for bowls coordinator Anthony Kiepe.
“We picked our team because we’re mates and we like to play together, it’s just a real fairytale finish to actually win, we’ve had a brilliant run,” Kiepe said.
“Geoff is moving to Tweed Heads, Fanta’s scaling back his bowls and Braidan’s going to have a break as well, so it’s a fairytale ending for us, to win this one together.”
Kiepe’s first Champion of Club Champion Men’s Fours title was almost 20 years ago in 1997, with his brothers and father.
He won a second CCC Men’s Fours state title in 2011 with Helensvale heavy-hitters, Fantini, Brett Wilkie and Nathan Rice, which was fantastic, but this third win, with his sentimental pick, feels very special.
Lead Geoff Gray has never won a state title before.
“Never won a STATE title, I’ve never won a DISTRICT title until this one!” Gray laughed. “Thanks so much, I couldn’t be happier, I LOVE these people!”
Bowls has been good to Anthony Fantini, finding his life partner Pam Rowe through the game, the popular couple tying the knot last weekend (Oct 15).
With plenty of brilliant young bowlers coming through, Fantini reckons it might be someone else’s turn to shine on the green in 2017.
“I’ve had my time in the sun, I’ve made lots of mates through bowls, and there’s lots of brilliant younger ones coming through, it’s their turn,” Fantini said. “It’s great to go out with the fairytale ending.”
For brilliant junior champ Braidan Leese, it’s a welcome first Champion of Club Champions title in the open division but he too would like a break from bowls in 2017, with a view to more work and travel.
“Time for a Contiki tour!” Leese said.
The Helensvale side were undefeated throughout the three rounds of the state final and never looked in serious trouble, even in the final against a warrior side like Mooloolaba (Lou Dalakis, Jim See, Stephen Garforth and skip John Thain), Helensvale winning 19-13, 21 ends.
“Our lead and skip were exceptional…not so much our second and third…” Mooloolaba second Jim See felt the four had a brilliant tournament, except in the final. “As for Helensvale, Kiepe was sensational at converting the head.”
The SILVER medal went to Mooloolaba, the BRONZE to Edge Hill (Wayne Petrohilos, Darren Curry, Jared Walker and skip Colin Kelly).
For skip Kelly, it was the one that got away.
After an undefeated opening day (Sat Oct 22) to lead their section, the side had a 10-shot advantage going into Round 3 against Mooloolaba today (Sun Oct 23) to decide who would win the section and earn a spot in the Gold Medal playoff.
Nobody would bet against Colin Kelly closing the deal with a 10-shot margin but there was some well earned celebrating last night and Edge Hill wasn’t as deadly on the green today, also contending with overcast, cold, windy conditions.
Against the odds, the margin got whittled away by John Thain’s Mooloolaba boys, who snatched the section and went through to the Gold medal playoff against Helensvale on 4 +19, Edge Hill on 4 +12 having to content themselves with the Bronze medal playoff.
“To get so close… it’s disappointing,” Kelly said.
“We played too many short bowls, we play on carpet and we’re used to a faster surface.
“But we’ll have a go again together next year and try to win through again…”
4th place went to North Rockhampton, Robert Neilsen, Troy Simpson, Colin James and skip Trent Smalley.
“It’s been great to get away for a couple of days, the greens were great and meeting up with old friends was fantastic, it’s the best part, we love this competition and we can’t wait for next year,” James said.
For RESULTS from 2016 Champion of Club Champion Men’s Fours, click here C0CC draw_men