Noel Downie is once again the Tuross Head Men’s Bowling Club’s Singles Champion – his first title since winning in consecutive years in 2008 and 2009. He had a good win over his long-time rival, John Monks. For the second year in a row Monks has finished as runner up in the Club’s premier championship.

The two semi-finals were exciting spectacles. Downie played Lawrie Riley in a game that was gripping until the end. After Downie made a bright start, Riley pegged him back and the two went neck and neck. After the scores were tied 12 all the lead changed five times until Riley pulled away to lead 27 – 21 and then 29 – 24. The crucial play came on the next end. With just his last bowl to play Downie looked down and out before he played a great bowl to grab an important shot. From this point he was able to control the play and he made the final with a determined 31 – 29 victory.

Monks played Stuart Graham and seemed well on track for a comfortable victory when he led 23 – 12. However, he then became becalmed. Graham plugged away and gradually decreased the margin. In this period of play Monks was able to make the task difficult for Graham by restricting him to a single shot per end. Over 10 ends the gap closed to 25 – 19 and looked far from over. Then suddenly Monks had a second ‘wind’. He was able to pick up the first ‘4’ of the match and then followed it with another 2 shots to close the game out 31 – 19.

The final was played in ideal conditions. The early ends were tight with both players in good form. Gradually, Downie grabbed the upper hand. In fact, he was only behind once in the match. Monks had grabbed a narrow 9 – 8 advantage before Downie started to dominant. He was playing beautifully and it was this, rather than poor play from Monks, that highlighted the game. Several times he was able to play outstanding bowls to steal the advantage from Monks. Downie won 31 – 19 but it took him 30 ends to close the game out. The majority of ends were tight with only 1 or 2 shots being scored.

It was a fitting final with a high standard of play from both players. Congratulations to the 2019 Club Champion – Noel Downie!!