Day 1 – State Champions Week
Australian representative Barrie Lester booked a men’s Champion of Champions Singles final berth against experienced Deer Park bowler Garry Ball after a high-quality opening day at 2017 State Champions Week.
After a longer than expected Day 1 at Bendigo East Bowling Club to combat expected bad weather on Day 2, Mulgrave and Eastern Ranges bowler Lester won through the round of 16, quarter-final and semi-final to make the decider.
Lester’s road was far from easy. He beat Rhys Jeffs (Drysdale/Geelong Region) 25-19 in the round of 16, then really had to lift in the quarter-final against Auburn surprise packet Brendan Gallagher to win 25-19.
But the highlight was the clash between Lester and fellow State rep Brad Orr (Shepparton Golf/Central Goulburn Murray Region) in the semi-final.
In a match which at one stage featured more drives than your local car dealer, Orr held a 19-16 lead over the Australian representative.
Lester then delivered bowl after bowl on the jack. Three successive threes later, and Lester had sealed a 25-19 win to move into the final.
Ball, a perennial top 10 and 20 nationally-ranked bowler, produced a stirring comeback to see off Whittlesea’s Nick McIntyre in the semi-final 25-15 after the Deer Park bowler had trailed mid-match.
In the women’s State Singles championship, Kylie Whitehead won through to her second final of State Champions Week.
Whitehead (Wodonga/Ovens & Murray) had already won through the Under 25 sectionals in January, and will play Tiffany Brodie in the Under 25 women’s singles final later in the tournament.
Now she has the chance to complete a rare double after booking a State Singles final berth against Joan Tennent (Ocean Grove).
Whitehead’s 25-19 quarter-final win against Tristania Doolan (MCC Kew/Yarra Region) was of the highest standard – both women producing super bowls to keep a sizeable crowd enthralled.
Then she beat local hope Lee Harris (Bendigo BC/Bendigo Campaspe) 25-11 in the semis.
Tennent produced the upset of Day 1 in the quarter-finals, knocking dual world champion Carla Krizanic out of the women’s State Singles Championship.
Tennent, representing Geelong Region, beat Krizanic (Sunbury BC/Northern Gateway) in a tense quarter-final 25-21 after Krizanic had won through a similarly marathon round of 16 clash to beat fellow Victorian rep Brooke Edwards (Altona/Metro West) 25-23.
That put Tennent into a semi-final against Loch & District BC/Strzelecki Region’s Jenny Miller.
Miller – with her trademark backwards baseball cap and matching bright orange bowls – had upset Paula Wood (Dandenong RSL/Sandbelt) 25-24, winning the match on her last bowl.
But Tennent beat Miller 25-15 to set up an intriguing final against State representative Whitehead.
Fixtures, Men’s Champion of Champions singles
Results, Men’s Champion of Champions singles
Fixtures, Women’s State singles
Results, Women’s State singles