Congratulations 2021 Junior State Singles Champions!
Congratulations to all Junior State Singles Champions
By Peter Rookas
It was Singles finals day for the BQ State Junior Bowls Championships at North Toowoomba Bowls Club today (Friday) and the games brought down the curtain on an exceptional week of junior lawn bowls.
The standard and skill level of the junior bowlers continued to amaze the throng of spectators, supporting families and officials. Overcast skies and a calming of the North Easterly wind provided almost perfect conditions and the young bowlers revelled in the bubbling atmosphere of an amphitheatre-like setting.
Taking centre stage on the main rinks were the Under 18 Girls Gold & Bronze medal finals. Enoggera’s Olivia Rothwell faced Mackay City’s Ashlee Knight for the Gold; both girls chasing their first-ever medal at BQ Junior level. It was Rothwell who stamped her authority on the match and she took an early lead, but once the ‘butterflies’ settled for Knight, it was game on!
Accurate lines and good weight control were a feature of Rothwell’s game all week and the final wasn’t any different. She constantly peppered the jack and while Knight tried desperately to go with her, Rothwell maintained control to run out a 21-7 victor.
The Bronze medal match proved much the same. The experienced Caysee Wilson; a multiple medal winner at Junior championships over the years, was too strong for Burnett’s Hannah Ogden 21 – 10. Despite the loss, Ogden had a stand-out tournament and was rewarded with selection in the Queensland Under 18 Girls squad.
At the same time, the Under 18 and Under 15 Boys semi-finals were being played. In the Under 15’s, Sam Collier accounted for Finn McLean 21 – 6 and Todd Brain was steady in his 21 – 11 victory over exciting young prospect, Zedd Peters. The Under 18’s semis saw Ty Jesberg outlast a brave Cody Bernard 21 – 14 while all attention was focussed on the other semi-final between two of Queensland’s finest young bowlers in Belmont Services Kane Nelson & North Toowoomba Bushranger Jake Rynne.
These two already had three tournament gold medals each in their ‘booty’ and after an epic showdown at the recent BQ Champion of Champion’s where Rynne edged out Nelson 21 – 20, and then went on to win the title, there was little wonder that this clash became monumental. The standard of play didn’t disappoint and once again, both players delivered sublime bowls. Nelson jumped to an early ascendency before Rynne, in front of his home supporters, stormed back to level the game. Both players then traded ends as the score crept closer to the required 21 shots. Nelson looked to have the game in the bag when he surged to a 20 – 18 lead but an uncharacteristic error by Nelson pushed the jack into Rynne’s two bowls & with composure beyond his years, Rynne made it 3 shots and the game was done.
It was now down to the Under 15 & Under 18 Boys medal matches. Cunnamulla’s Todd Brain clicked into gear early in the Under 15 Boys Gold medal match to take a sizeable lead, however despite a determined comeback by Tweed Head’s Sam Collier, Brain was always in control to win 21 – 13. Meanwhile, the Bronze medal match was all but done as Finn McLean had bolted to a 17 – 9 lead, but like he’d done most of the week, Bundaberg’s Zedd Peters kept in the game and slowly worked his way back to snatch the lead and then close it out for an exciting 21 – 17 victory.
As expected, Nelson claimed the Under 18 Boys Bronze medal over Cody Bernard 21 – 12. Shrugging off the disappointment of missing the Gold medal match, Nelson broke clear after a close start and was never headed.
But it was the Gold Medal match that everyone had come to see and expectations were high that local champ Jake Rynne could end his time in BQ Junior Bowls with a record four Gold medals. A shabby start by Rynne saw Jesberg grab an early lead but it was short lived. Rynne kept coming, although showing the signs of mental fatigue after his semi-final battle with Nelson, but Jesberg wasn’t about to rollover. Urged on by the mass of Queensland Outback supporters, Longreach’s Jesberg found his line and weight to constantly apply the pressure. At 17 – all, and Rynne holding three shots and Jesberg with his final bowl in hand, played the shot of the tournament. With controlled weight, he neatly dissected Rynne’s bowls, took the jack into the ditch & with two back bowls, turned a possible 3 shot loss into a 3 shot advantage.
Seemingly on the cusp of victory, only to have it snatched away, Rynne now had to regather his composure and stay in the game. Jesberg ditched his first bowl and the tension was showing, as Rynne calmly rolled in two close bowls while Jesberg’s second bowl was a metre over the jack, just past Rynne’s two shots. Jesberg’s third bowl then wrenched the shot away from Rynne however a pin-point accurate drive from Rynne put paid to that however, at the same time collecting Jesberg’s bowl, the jack was now in the ditch & Jesberg held shot & game with his overweight second bowl. A nervous last bowl by Jesberg came up a fraction short & it was now down to Rynne’s last bowl & survival. With a gap one and a half bowls wide, Rynne had the chance to play onto his bowl and ditch Jesberg’s bowl and claim a possible three. As the crowd held their breath, Rynne’s bowl sailed wide and the Gold medal was heading out west to Longreach.
It was a week of bowls to remember and a statement by the Junior bowlers of Queensland that they have the talent and the skills to take on Australia’s best.
At the medal presentation’s, BQ’s President Peter Williamson praised the Toowoomba and North Toowoomba Bowls Club for successfully hosting a second consecutive State Junior Championship, reserving special mentions for the Norths greenkeeper Dave Howard, the volunteer umpires, markers and catering/bar staff and the wonderful amenities of the North Toowoomba club.
Toowoomba Regional Council was a Major sponsor of the event and Councillor James O’Shea lauded Bowls Queensland for choosing North Toowoomba again as the venue for the State Junior Championships. He particularly thanked the many families and bowlers who had travelled far & wide to attend, and tongue-in-cheek, suggested that Toowoomba could become ‘the Home of the State Junior Bowls Championships.’
Samuel Collier def by Todd Brain 13 – 21
Finn Mclean def by Zedd Peters 17 – 21
Boys U/18 Post Sectional
Jake Rynne def Shane Rideout 21 – 9
Kane Nelson def Oliver Corken 21 – 6
Jake Rynne def Kane Nelson 21 – 20
Ty Jesberg def Cody Bernard 21 – 14
Jake Rynne def by Ty Jesberg 17 – 21
Kane Nelson def Cody Bernard 21 – 12
Olivia Rothwell def Ashlee Knight 21 – 7
Caysee Wilson def Hannah Ogden 21 – 10
Holly Anderson def Stella Palmer 21 – 13
Lacey Bernard def by Dekota Brindle 9 – 2
(Full story to come soon!)
See all 2021 Junior Championships live streamed matches: https://www.bowlsqld.org/2021-qld-junior-state-championships/
Thanks to sponsors 1st End sunscreen and Toowoomba Regional Council, North Toowoomba Bowls Club, the Gold Coast District media team and all volunteers.
Winners pictured below:
Olivia Rothwell, the 2021 Girls’ U18 Junior State Champion
U18 Junior State Champion Gold Medal winner Ty Jesberg
U18 medal winners L-R: Jake Rynne (silver), Ty Jesberg (gold) & Kane Nelson (bronze)
U18 Girls medal winners L-R: Ashlee Knight (silver), Olivia Rothwell (gold) & Caysee Wilson (bronze)
U15 Girls Junior State Champion Gold Medal winner Holly Anderson
U15 Girls Junior State Champion medal winners L-R: Dakota Brindle (bronze), Holly Anderson (gold) & Stella Palmer (silver)
U15 Boys’ Junior state Champions medal winners L-R: Zedd Peters (bronze), Todd Brain (gold) & Samual Collier (silver)
U15 Boys Gold medal winner Todd Brain with BQ President Peter Williamson (right)