The finalists in the 2019 Major Pairs Championship have been decided in two very entertaining semi-finals. Noel Downie and John Monks played Jim Macklan and Stan Peck with the final result not reflecting the closeness of the game. The earlier ends were very tight with both teams playing crucial bowls. After 9 ends Macklan and Peck had a slender 10 – 9 lead.
At this point Downie and Monks gained the upper hand and by the 16th end had set up a match winning advantage of 22 – 11. In this period the play was tighter than the scores showed with the difference being some outstanding bowls from Downie and Monks where they had several ‘conversions’ that reaped rewards. Despite winning a couple of ends, Macklan and Peck could not record the number of shots they needed to bridge the gap. Downie and Monks had a 25 – 14 victory.
In the other game, Peter Davies and Joel Hilliard had to work very hard to get the better of Allan Etheredge and Peter Bird. The teams were locked at 7 all after 7 ends with all four bowlers playing very well. The next three ends proved to be the key to the match. Davies and Hilliard were able to pull away to a 14 – 7 lead and then they consolidated their advantage with another 3 shots on the 13th end to move to 17 – 9.
The final eight ends were a real arm wrestle as Etheredge and Bird fought hard to get back into the match. In fact, they won 5 of the last 8 ends but could only pick one shot at a time. Several times they held multiple shots but Davies and Hilliard were able to play some great shots to cut back the score. It was this ability to defend their lead that was the real strength of Davies’ and Hilliard’s play. They played a number of very effective on shots and drives to change the complexion of the head.
Etheredge and Bird were far from disgraced in a very competitive match that Davies and Hilliard finally won 20 – 14. The final should be an excellent game between two very strong pairings.