Joel Hilliard Regains Title of Club Champion

By |2022-05-23T12:30:15+10:00May 23rd, 2022|Categories: Men's Bowls|

Joel Hilliard has regained his title as the Tuross Head Men’s Bowls Club Champion after a hard fought win in the final of the Major Singles Championship against the defending Champion, Peter Macdonald.

After several delays the final was played last Saturday in ideal conditions. The green was playing very well – the need to prepare the green for the 3 days of the May Carnival had it in top condition. Both players also benefitted from playing 3 full days in the Carnival enabling them to hone their skills after a period of time when it was difficult to get much practice.

The early ends of the game were very close with both players sharing the spoils. They had both won 5 ends after 10 ends had been played with Hilliard holding a slight advantage of 9 – 7. Hilliard then made the first move of the game when he was able to win 5 ends in a row, including a crucial haul of 4 shots on the 13th end. He moved to a commanding lead of 20 – 7.

It was then Macdonald’s turn to control the game. The tightness of the play was such that it didn’t take much to swing the momentum. Macdonald won 5 consecutive ends to narrow the margin to 20 – 16 after 20 ends. It was now anyone’s game!

However, both players were very conscious of how close the finish line was. With the new rule of the winner being the first player to 25 shots – it was first to 31 shots – they could not afford a slip up. Hilliard was able to play a match winning shot on the 21st end to pick up 3 shots to move him in sight of victory at 23 – 16. He was able to wrap up the match on the next end!

It was an excellent final played between the two best singles players in the club as they have demonstrated over the last three seasons. Congratulations to Joel who adds another title to his growing list of achievements. Peter acquitted himself very well and , while disappointed, he should be proud of his achievements!

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Major Pairs Finalists Decided

By |2022-05-15T10:09:22+10:00May 15th, 2022|Categories: Men's Bowls|

The finalist for the 2022 Major Pairs Championship have been decided following the completion of the quarter and semi-finals. Joel Hilliard kept alive his quest for his fifth consecutive victory in this event when he and Col Fletcher prevailed in their semi-final. However, the real story of the moment is the sensational form of Stuart Graham that guided him and Doug Williams to two tight wins to make the final.

Just recovered from a bout of COVID, Graham had to play his quarter final and semi-final on consecutive days. Far from being adversely affected by his illness he was in great form and set the platform for two memorable wins.

Williams and Graham played Peter Macdonald and Ray Downey in their delayed quarter final on Friday. From the start this was a very tightly contested affair with neither side able to grab control. After 11 ends they were locked at 10 all! Based on some tremendous lead bowling from Graham, his side gradually built a lead and with two ends to play they looked safe with a 20 – 12 margin.

Macdonald and Downey created a chance for themselves when they picked up 3 shots on the 20th end and followed this with a strong performance on the last end. Needing six shots for an unlikely win, they held five shots with just a few bowls to be played. Again it was Graham who played the decisive bowl when , with his last bowl of the game, he managed to cut the deficit to two shots. Downey and Williams were unable to change the head giving Graham and Williams a well-deserved 20 – 17 victory.

On Saturday Williams and Graham played Noel Downie and John Monks for a place in the final. Monks had the better start and after 8 ends had a 10 – 4 lead. Graham was then again behind a revival for his side. When they picked up 5 shots on the 13th end the scores was tied up at 13 all!

Williams and Graham took the lead for the first time in the game when they scored 4 shots on the 15th end only to see Downie and Monks strike back with 5 shots on the next end to see them regain the lead at 19 – 17. From this point it was a very tight battle. Going into the last end Williams led 20 – 21. This time it was Monks who played the critical bowl when he drew the shot with his last bowl to force the game into an extra end.

The extra end was very tense. Graham gave his side the early advantage only to see Monks take it back. At his second turn on the mat, Graham was able to regain control and this time Monks was unable to play the bowl needed. Williams and Graham progressed to the final with a 23 – 21 win.

Col Fletcher and Joel Hilliard played Allan Etheredge and John Wagstaff in the other semi-final. Wagstaff had a dream start picking up 6 shots on the 3rd end to give him an early 9 – 0 lead. However, Hilliard hit his straps and he was able to win the next seven, albeit tight, ends to take the lead at 11 – 9.

Etheredge and Wagstaff could not reproduce the form they displayed in their previous match. While they were competitive, they could not match their opponents. Fletcher played some excellent draw shots while Hilliard pulled out the ‘big’ shot when needed. Fletcher and Hilliard won 20 -15.

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Major Pairs Commences

By |2022-05-08T10:55:05+10:00May 8th, 2022|Categories: Men's Bowls|

The 2022/23 Championship program has been severely interrupted by the ongoing rain and COVID 19. Several playing days have been washed out requiring a revision of the calendar of events. The uncertainty created by the changes and the impact of COVID has resulted in disappointing entries. Nevertheless, play has finally started in the Major Pairs Championship.

Three games have been completed with some excellent bowls played. Defending Champion Joel Hilliard has a new partner this year with Col Fletcher taking the place of John Fahey who has taken the opportunity to do some travel. They played Bruce Lidbury who teamed with new bowler Bob Hay. Hilliard had the better of the early ends and lead 9 – 2 after seven ends.

The next end changed the momentum of the game. Lidbury and Hay picked up 4 shots and by the 11th end they had drawn level at 9 all. They continued to have the better of some very tight heads moving to a 15 – 10 lead after 16 ends.

The trend of the game then changed. It was Hilliard’s turn to control the game and he regained the lead at 16 – 15 with one end to play. The last end was a beauty! Hay played several excellent bowls to give his team the upper hand with the skips moving to the mat to play their last two bowls. With his first bowl Hilliard missed with a drive. He held his nerve and played another drive with his last bowl and was able to take the jack into the ditch. Lidbury had a very hard opportunity to force the game into an extra end but his bowl trickled into the ditch giving Fletcher and Hilliard a hard fought 19 – 15 win.

The old team of Noel Downie and John Monks played Mick Challice and Marcel Kors in what turned out to be a very entertaining match. Using their experience, and an ample share of good fortune, Monks had a great start and led 6 – 0 after 5 ends. The ends were very tight – 14 of the ends resulted in just one shot – with Monks slowly taking control. The final result of 20 – 11 did not reflect the closeness of the battle with all four players putting down some excellent bowls.

Allan Etheredge and John Wagstaff played Mick Atkinson and Ivan Balentovic in another game were the final score did not reflect the tightness of the battle. After 15 ends Wagstaff led by just 14 – 10. The next two ends proved crucial. Wagstaff was able to pick up 3 shots and then 7 shots to take the game out of reach of Balentovic. The final score of 27 – 11 did not reflect how well Atkinson and Balentovic played. To their credit, Etheredge and Wagstaff played particularly well!!

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Excitement and Drama Before Singles Finalists Decided

By |2022-03-29T16:10:42+11:00March 29th, 2022|Categories: Men's Bowls|

The finalists in the 2022 Tuross Head Major Singles Championships have been decided but not before plenty of drama! The completion of the quarter finals and the playing of the semi-finals were interrupted by COVID and further issues with the wet weather! The fourth quarter final between Peter Macdonald and Bruce Lidbury was delayed due to Lidbury being struck down with COVID and was played at the same time as one of the semi-finals on Saturday. Both of these games were then interrupted by rain before being completed on Tuesday!

When play started in the Macdonald/Lidbury quarter final Lidbury had a dream beginning. After 7 ends he had raced to a 14 – 0 lead making things very tough for the defending Champion. However, Macdonald was able to remain calm and it was his turn to dominate the scoring so that by the 15th end the scores were locked at 16 all!! Lidbury won the next end before the rain arrived and led 17 – 16.

On resumption of the game the players virtually went shot for shot in an exciting tussle. Macdonald nudged ahead but Lidbury caught him at 24 all. Macdonald was able to score the crucial shot he needed on the next end to win a great game 25 – 24!

The semi-final started on Saturday featured the 2020 Champion Joel Hilliard and the remarkable 89 year old Lou Kozlik. On Saturday Hilliard was in fine touch while Kozlik could not repeat his form from the previous two rounds. When they were forced off the green Hilliard was well on the way to victory leading 17 – 3.

When the players resumed play on Tuesday fortunes changed! Kozlik made a game of it winning 6 of the first 8 ends they played to cut Hilliard’s lead to 20 – 16. The next seven ends were very tight and after 25 ends Hilliard was in front 22 – 20! Hilliard was able to win the next three tightly fought ends by a single shot to record a hard earned 25 – 20 victory!

Macdonald was required to return to the green to play his semi-final against the ever improving Bruce Magilton after a short break. On the one hand, he had the advantage of playing 12 ends prior to this game but on the other hand, he had the disadvantage of coping with the physical and emotional tiredness that he undoubtedly felt following his tussle with Lidbury.

After a very even start, Macdonald went from 4 all on the 4th end to a decisive lead of 15 – 4 after 9 ends. Magilton fought back and after 14 ends he trailed by 10 – 16. However, Macdonald showed his class to close out the game 25 – 13.

We now look forward to a great final between Macdonald and Hilliard that pits the Club Champions from the last two years against one another!

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Major Singles Quarter Finals

By |2022-03-20T16:29:55+11:00March 20th, 2022|Categories: Men's Bowls|

The quarter finals of the 2022 Major Singles Championship have started with 3 of the 4 games completed. Unfortunately COVID prevented the fourth game from being played! Two of the three games ended with surprise results while the third saw a former Champion made to work hard to make the semi-finals.

Everyone’s favourite super senior player did it again! The remarkable Lou Kozlik, all of 89 years old, continued his great form when he dispatched one of the real fancies in this event – Noel Downie! The game was very close for the first half of play with the scores locked at 8 all after 11 ends. Kozlik then powered away from his opponent. He won the next 7 ends and picked up 14 shots to create a lead of 22 – 8. Downie, as he always does, fought back and reduced the margin to 22 – 17 after 21 ends. Kozlik then won the next two ends to win the game 25 – 17.

Bruce Magilton, the winner of this year’s Lightning Singles, once again showed his ever improving skills when he outplayed the very experienced Stuart Graham. While most of the ends where closely fought, Magiltion won 18 of the 24 ends played. On 13 of these ends the margin was by just one shot!! Nevertheless, Magilton was able to lead throughout and won 25 – 10.

In the third game played, Joel Hilliard had to be at his very best to get over the top of Doug Williams. The momentum shifted from one player to the other and on four occasions the scores were level. Hilliard led earlier but by the 10th end Williams had levelled the scores at 10 all. Williams then managed to grab the lead but by the 20th end the scores were again locked up at 17 all. Hilliard then made the crucial break. He picked up 3 shots on each of the next two ends to move in sight of victory at 23 – 17. The next three ends were very close with Hilliard winning two of them by a shot to win the game 25 – 18.

The postponed match will be played during the work so the make of the semi-finals will be finalised!

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Major Singles Championship Underway

By |2022-03-17T15:19:55+11:00March 13th, 2022|Categories: Men's Bowls|

A couple of rain free days has enabled Tuross Head Men’s Bowls to make a start to their 2022 Major Singles Championship. Given the amount of rain that has fallen over the last few weeks, the green keepers have done a wonderful job to have the green in good condition.

Six round one matches were completed with four former Champions, including the defending Champion Peter Macdonald, attempting to win another title. Macdonald’s clash with Marcel Kors was one of several highlights of the day. Right from the opening end this was a very tight game with the players level pegging on 10 separate occasions! Kors edged ahead 18 – 14 after 19 ends only to see Macdonald win the next five ends to grab a five shot advantage at 23 – 18.

It was then Kors’ turn to grab the momentum when he won six of the next seven ends to be agonisingly close to victory at 30 – 25. Macdonald then showed his class and calmness to fight back strongly to win the game 31 – 30!

Runner up in the recently held Consistency Singles, Jonathan Green continued his impressive form when he played Stuart Graham in another match that was decided on the last end. Green had a great start and was ahead 10 – 3 before Graham settled into the game. By the 14th end the players were level at 11 all. The lead chopped and changed over the next 12 ends with Graham just ahead at 22 – 21 after 26 ends.

Graham then seemed to be on his way to victory when he moved to 30 – 25 only to see Green win the next 3 ends to draw level at 30 all! Graham was able to grab a match winning shot on the last end to win a great game 30 – 31!

Crowd favourite, 89 year old Lou Kozlik, proved the real winner on the day when he held off a strong comeback from John Monks to move into the second round. Kozlik dominated the first half of the game outplaying Monks to set up a 19 – 10 lead. Monks struck back and gradually narrowed the lead. By the 30th end Kozlik’s lead was just 2 shots at 23 – 21. Then on the next end Kozlik played the shot of the match when he drew the shot when Monks held three shots! From this point Kozlik was able to close the match out and won 31 – 22.

Former Champion Bruce Lidbury played Ben Hewison in a very high quality game with the final score line not reflecting the closeness of the play. Hewison started better and led early before Lidbury drew level at 11 all after 12 ends. Lidbury was able to dominate the next section of the game and two scores of 4 made a big difference. He was able to play the critical bowl when needed and won the match 31 – 21.

Two other former Champions, Noel Downie and Joel Hilliard also moved into round two with good wins in their matches. Downie has regained his best form at the right time and he proved too consistent for Mick Challice who played some excellent bowls. Again the 31 – 14 score line did not reflect the quality of the game. Hilliard was too classy for Mick Atkinson and won 31 – 12.

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Consistency Championship Finalised

By |2022-02-22T16:49:54+11:00February 22nd, 2022|Categories: Men's Bowls|

The Consistency Singles Championship, the first championship event for 2022, has been decided following the playing of the semi-finals last Saturday and the final on Tuesday.

Both semi-finals were entertaining games. One of these games had our most experienced bowler – John Monks – up against one of our newer players – Jonathan Green. Green has been in great form in singles events already finishing as runner up in the Lightning Singles. Very little separated the two players in the early ends of this match. After ten ends Green had a slender 51 – 49 lead. He was able to extend this lead and by the 18th end he had a good lead at 99 – 81

Monks gradually narrowed the gap from this point. After 24 ends the gap was just 8 with Green having an advantage of 124 – 116. However, Green had the better of the next few ends, that were very close. enabling him to record an extremely good 150 – 130 victory.

The other semi-final was between Jim Macklan and Col Fletcher – again a match between two players with vastly different amounts of experience. Macklan has been one of the leading draw bowlers in the club for many years while Fletcher is another relative newcomer. The difference in experience and playing styles was obvious from the start with Macklan incredibly consistent. In fact he was able to either win or draw each of the first 14 ends! By this stage he had a handsome lead of 88 – 52.

Despite his best efforts, Fletcher could not manage the run of big scores he needed to narrow the gap. In the end Macklan moved into the final winning 155 to 115.

The final on Tuesday between Macklan and Green was a real challenge for Green Once again he was against a very experienced player who specialises in consistent draw bowls. The early ends went in Macklan’s favour and he opened up a 14 point margin after 7 ends. Green fought back strongly and within two ends he had narrowed the gap to 2 points at 46 – 44.

The game then had a number of very closely fought ends with Macklan having the better of play. In this period he was able to again extend his lead to 73 – 87. Then came two very crucial ends where he was able to score 9 – 1 on both to give him a match winning lead of 105 to 75. Now with his eye well and truly in Macklan powered to a convincing 150 – 100 victory.

This marks the first time Macklan has won a Singles Championship! Well done, especially given the health battles he has had in recent times! Accolades must also go to Green who was far from disgraced! His future is bright!

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Rain Again Interrupts Play in the Consistency Singles

By |2022-02-15T14:46:01+11:00February 15th, 2022|Categories: Men's Bowls|

For the second time in two rounds players were forced off the green during play in the Consistency Singles due to rain. They were hopeful of completing their matches on Saturday despite the cloudy conditions but after one break due to showers they were finally forced to suspend play when heavier showers returned.

The bowlers were playing in the quarter finals of the event with one of the games delayed due to an injury suffered by Peter Macdonald. Bill Burch started strongly in his match with Col Fletcher and after 7 ends held the advantage by 45 to 25. Fletcher was able to reduce the margin and by the 13th end hit the front for the first time at 66 – 64. The next phase of the game was very close with the lead fluctuating. When play was suspended Fletcher held a slender 111 t0 109 lead.

They returned to the green in warm, sunny conditions on Tuesday with the conditions suiting Fletcher who was able to wrap the match up in just seven ends. He moved into the semi-final with a good 157 – 133 win.

Jonathan Green maintained his excellent form leading all the way in his clash with Ivan Balentovic. Every time Balentovic looked like gaining the momentum, Green was able to steady and hold his lead. When rain interrupted play Green was ahead 103 – 77. On Tuesday, Green was able to hold his nerve and held off a strong finish from Balentovic to win 153 to 127.

John Monks and Doug Williams had a tight battle at the start of their game. After 10 ends Monks led by 53 – 47. Scores remained close until Monks was able to build a 20 point margin just as the rain worsened! When the players left the green he was ahead 105 to 85. When played resumed on Tuesday it was a matter of who would start the best. Monks was able to do this. He went on to win the game 154 to 116.

Unfortunately Macdonald, the Club’s reigning Singles Champion and hot favourite for this event, was unable to recover in time and he was forced to forfeit to Jim Macklin. Macklin will play Col Fletcher in one semi while John Monks takes on Jonathan Green in the other.

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