State Champions Week 2016 – Day 5
Philip Thorn grew up on the bowling green in Echuca, with parents who loved the game so much he couldn’t help but get involved.
As Mum and Dad played bowls, so did young Philip – bowling his own set crossways to his parents as they played.
Thorn grew into one of Victoria’s best bowlers, and had long coveted the thought of one day winning the men’s State singles title.
On day five of 2016 State Champions Week, the man they call “Prickle” saw his dream come true, as the Bendigo Campaspe bowler took the State title in yet another epic final – an event in which epic finals are becoming the theme.
“It’s something I’ve always wanted to achieve, but never did I think this day would ever come.”
Thorn probably didn’t think it was going to happen until it did, such was the level of twists, turns and ticker he and opponent Matthew Higgins (Gippsland/Sale BC) showed throughout a match enjoyed by all who couldn’t help but get engrossed in the battle.
Higgins cleared out to an early 10-5 advantage, but a pivotal four helped Thorn take what appeared control, and build a 20-15 lead.
Then back came the young Sale player, clawing back shots to trail 20-19 and sending the game to the wire, and into frenzied overdrive in the race to 25.
Thorn led 23-21. With Thorn holding two to take the match, Higgins went for broke with a gutsy shot that turned his two-down into two-up, and it was 23-all.
Higgins then held two to take the match on the next end. Thorn rose to the occasion, taking out one of Higgins’ shots to live again, but still trailing 24-23.
Then Thorn finally grabbed the shot he needed, and in the battle of bucket hat (Thorn) versus wide-brim (Higgins), it was Thorn who shaded his rival.
It had been a great tournament for Thorn, who thrust himself into the reckoning with a dynamic quarter-final win over world under 25 champion Aaron Wilson. He then saw off dangerous Matt Robertson (Central Goulburn Murray/Shepparton Golf) in a tense semi 25-20.
Higgins, who had quietly progressed through the tournament with a quietly confident support team from Gippsland in tow at every match, saw off Ivan Hicks from Murray Mallee in a semi which also swung about, 25-22.
In the women’s triples final, there was better news for part of Gippsland with Strzelecki Region taking out the State title.
Strzelecki, skipped by Robyn Dennis, with lead Nicole McKenzie and Marilyn Forrest, ran out 21-14 winners over Sandbelt – Desiree Macaulay, Jean Meltzer, Ann McCarthy (skip).
Victorian rep Nicole Shortis provided the story of the day in the women’s State singles lead-ins, knocking out Champion of Champions Singles winner Carla Krizanic 25-18 in the last 16.
Geelong’s Shortis (Leopold Sportsman’s) then overcame Metro West’s Sharon Fletcher 25-23 in a tense quarter-final to book a semi-final spot against West Coast’s Kellie Bowles.
In the other semi-final, Chloe Stewart (Central Victoria) will take on Sandra McColgan from Peninsula Casey.
Australian star Stewart looked ominous in both her matches on day 5, beating Lucy Dalli (Gippsland) 25-10 in the round of 16 before knocking out local hope Julie Ross (Bendigo Campaspe) 25-7 in the quarters.
In the men’s triples semi-finals on day 6, Central Victoria will play a Geelong outfit skipped by Ocean Grove’s Matthew Flapper.
Day five results leaves the Vic Shield race even closer as the event heads towards its final two days at Bendigo East Bowling Club.
The trophy is awarded to the Region which accumulates the most points over all the season’s State title events.
After Day 5, the points standings are:
Northern Gateway 47
Eastern Ranges 45
Ovens and Murray 44
Metro West 31
Peninsula Casey 30
Central Goulburn Murray 29
Central Victoria 29
Bendigo Campaspe 28
West Coast 27
Murray Mallee 23
Points are awarded: Event winner – 10; Runner-up – 5; Equal 3rd – 3; Quarter-finals – 2; Round of 16 – 1
Results, men’s State singles
Results, women’s State singles
Results, men’s triples
Results, women’s triples
State Champions Week, Day 4 story
State Champions Week, Day 3 story
State Champions Week, Day 2 story
State Champions Week, Day 1 story