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!!