2015 Victorian Open – day 4 mixed pairs
Frank Watson and Gail McKenzie only met for the first time on Sunday.
They’re going to be seeing a fair bit of each other over the next few days, after two of Victorian lawn bowls’ great characters produced one of the most popular wins ever at a Victorian Open.
Watson, a greatly popular figure at Shepparton Park BC, and the Sale Golf bowler known to most as “Gail from Sale” are now into the final 16 of the mixed pairs.
They conjured up drama, laughter, emotion and in Watson’s case, a few dance moves, on the way to beating Jing Robertson and Brad Foote 14-13 in a thrilling round of 32 clash on Watson’s home green.
With scores level going into the final end and their rivals holding shot, Watson was given the task to win the game.
And after some banter with his partner, he produced an extraordinary shot with his second bowl to gather up the jack and leave his bowl touching for what proved the winner.
Watson and McKenzie, one of the leading bowlers in the Gippsland region, only met for the first time at the weekend after they were teamed up remotely for the tournament by event director Barb Gilbert when they needed a mixed pairs partner.
They’ve struck up a rapport worthy of the best comedy acts in a short time, and it’s guided them through the sectionals and two tough knockout games to set up a last 16 clash with Winston Brackley and Kaye Robison on Wednesday.
Two of Victoria’s leading bowlers Nathan Wilson (Essendon) and Chloe Stewart (Kyneton) have a menacing look about them going into finals day, as they powered through their sectionals and survived their second knockout match for a one-shot win over Benalla’s Kerri Leask and Brian Hogg.
As well as Watson, the final 16 of the mixed pairs has a real local flavour.
Last year’s Vic Medallist Brad Orr (Shepparton Golf) teamed with Shepparton Park’s Marika Armstrong to book themselves a spot in Wednesday’s finals kick-off.
Their 13-9 win over Anthony Donohue and Jane McMenamen gives the mixed pairs business end a real local feel, with Shepparton Park’s Trevor Serafini also booking his second finals day appearance.
Serafini partnered Josie Michielin (Shepparton East), bouncing Stuart Hedger (Sebastopol) and Tiffany Brodie (Fitzroy Victoria) out of the tournament 14-9 to reach the last 16.
Vic Medal front-runner Lisa Phillips (Coatesville) and in-form Nick McIntyre (Whittlesea), who is also busy on finals day, rode a bye through the first knockout round to win their second round game and enter the round of 16.
Victorian under-18s Jordan Yates (Glenroy) and Amelia Bruggy (Bendigo) are also through after a 19-11 win over Anne Fordham and Kevin Armour in the knockout stages.
And a popular winning combo was Nicole Shortis (Leopold Sportsman’s) and Danny Markovic (Clifton Springs), flying the flag for the Geelong region in the last 16 when the finals kick off Wednesday.
Finals schedule for Wednesday and Thursday
Mixed pairs results