2022 Junior State Championships – Triples Day
By Peter Rookas
A record 19 teams lined up for the 2-bowl Triples Championship on Day 4 of the 2022 Bowls Queensland Junior Championships being conducted in Toowoomba from 16 January – 21 January. Two games were contested on Tuesday 18 January and the rest throughout Wednesday. To make it to the medal games, the players had to contest a marathon 72 ends.
Another balmy day in the Garden City greeted bowlers and their families for what was sure to produce some great action and the young players did not disappoint, with the quality and standard of bowls played first-class.
Favoured sides progressed steadily through the rounds, however there were a few surprises. The combination of Hayden Leslie, Olivia Rothwell & Caysee Wilson was edged out by Sophie Kiepe, Travis Gibbs and Stella Palmer in a close encounter while the Ty Jesberg team with Oliver Corken and Sam Collier had to fight hard to make their way to the semi-finals. Early favourites Riley Gerick, Travis Pearce and Cody Gerick were also pressed but once in the semi-final, made no mistakes with a comprehensive 24 – 6 victory over the Stella Palmer skipped side to claim a place in the gold medal final. It was a similar case for the Ty Jesberg skipped team. Once in the semi-final, they dominated the Phoebe Russell, Bryce Jarrett, Brody Carter combination before taking a 24 – 13 victory and setting up an epic showdown.
As expected, the gold medal final was a cracker. Jesberg, the reigning Under 18 Singles champion, quickly stamped his authority on the game, snapping up 2 shots on the first end and it was obvious he had bought his ‘A’ game for the Triples after a sluggish performance earlier in the week. Gerick’s team hit back with a shot on the second end but then an uncharacteristic mistake on the next end proved costly and the Jesberg team extended the lead to 5 – 1. Another exchange of shots and then 2 shots to Jesberg & Co and it was 8 – 2 after 6 ends. It was clearly obvious that both teams were well matched and it was shot-for-shot again until a crucial mistake on the 12th end by Cody Gerick. With the score at 10 – 6 in favour of Jesberg, Gerick drew the shot with his first bowl only to see Ty sneak inside him. Using a fraction too much weight, Gerick missed Jesberg’s shot bowl and in doing so, pushed his team’s bowl away to be 2 down with Jesberg with a bowl in hand. Ty played a sublime draw to the kitty and the score had jumped out to 14 – 6. As expected, Gerick’s team made a come back but a crucial shot to Sam Collier put the score at 15 – 10 with only three ends remaining. When Gerick’s team looked to be closing in, Jesberg produced his best bowl of the game to snatch two shots for a 17 – 10 lead and the match closed out with Gerick picking up a token final end 2 shots for a 17 – 12 result.
Jesberg was the star of the match, but Collier and Corken made solid contributions in a great team effort. Cody Gerick again bowled well and received good support from his brother Riley and Travis Pearce.
The surprise packet of the medal matches was the Stella Palmer team against the Brody Carter team in the Bronze medal encounter. Stella’s team skipped away to what seemed an unassailable lead on 15 – 2 before Brody & Co. stormed back to get within one shot at 15 – 14. That effort seemed to take its toll and a 4 shot end by Palmer’s team shortly after the fight back took the wind out Carter’s sails and Palmer raced away to a 25 – 14 victory. From a nervous young girl from Roma in 2020 to a supremely confident skip in 2022, Stella Palmer was a shining light in this fine team win.