The first championship of the year has been decided with the playing of the Fours last weekend. In the final Col Fletcher, Julian Penny, Peter Bird and Stuart Graham played Ray Brown, Alan Skelton and Joel Hilliard.
To make the final Graham’s side had two games on Saturday. In the first game they had to hold off a strong finish from Ivan Balentovic, Stan Peck, Jim Macklan and Ian Wratten to prevail. Graham started strongly setting up an early 8 – 2 lead. While they managed to keep the lead throughout, the match was far from over when they held a slender 19 – 17 advantage with just two ends to play. They held their nerve to win 21 – 17.
In the afternoon they played Joe Cremona, Alf Winch, Patrick Sager and Ron Cox. Again they started very well racing to a 9 – 0 lead and dominating the game to win 26 – 9.
Hilliard’s side had a slightly easier passage to the final having to play only one game on Saturday. They had a tight struggle with Des Jackson, Ray Downey, Jim Howden and Peter Macdonald. Hilliard lead by example with some fantastic bowling. They had a great start and kept the advantage.
Macdonald’s team kept the pressure on with Macdonald also skipping exceptionally well to keep his side in the contest. After 17 ends Hilliard had just a one shot lead at 15 – 14. Hilliard and McLeod combined with excellent bowls over the next two ends to ensure their win. The final score was 22 – 16.
The final turned out to be a very tight affair. Graham managed to hold a narrow lead despite winning the majority of ends. Hilliard’s side kept themselves in the game on the back of three very good ends, They picked up four shots on the 13th end to draw level at 14 all.
The sides each won 3 of the next 6 ends with Graham clinging to a 19 – 18 lead after 19 ends. The 20th end proved to be the critical end with Graham playing a great bowl to grab four shots for his side a a 23 – 18 lead with only an end to play. Unfortunately for Hilliard he had to play very risky shots to try to bridge the gap and ended in going down another 3 shots.
The final score of 26 – 18 did not reflect the closeness of the battle. Fletcher, Penny, Bird and Graham were deserved winners. Congratulations to both sides!