Top dogs claw tooth and nail

A SINGLE shot was the difference in the battle between the ladder leaders as Yallourn handed Traralgon its first West Gippsland Bowls Division top grade loss for the season in round seven on Saturday.

Following the trend of epic encounters in recent times Yallourn edged out its rival on home soil but was made to hold its collective breath as Ian Kirkup came desperately close to sealing the result for the visitor with the final bowl of the day.

In the last rink to be played Barry Daley, Alan Ryan, Neale Houston and Alan Grubb faced Kirkup’s quartet in a nail-biter.

Yallourn was up by two at the start of the last end which saw Kirkup holding three as the skippers changed over.

Grubb drew second shot with his first bowl and Kirkup tried valiantly to gain the two shots for victory but had to settle for one on the end, resulting in a one shot win to Yallourn 89-88 and a 27-24 win on the rink.

On the other rinks the action was equally intense.

John Hannant, John Leicester, Alex Houston and Kevin Lovett established a 10-3 lead over Traralgon’s Maurie Sutcliffe, Ryan Renfrew, Ian Hilsley and Matt Ferrari after seven ends, but a four on the 12th pegged it back to 11-10.

Tight ends ensued to the close but Lovett was able to hold on for a 22-17 triumph.

Yallourn’s Max Grubb, James McCausland, Nosha Michaels and Ken Capper were foiled by Gary Trewin, Kevin Enguell, Phil Mustoe and Abe Roeder 20-26. Capper started well and led 5-0 after three ends before Roeder drew level at six-all by the end of the eighth.

The lead changed hands twice more before a four on the 19th end sent Capper ahead 17-15.

Not to be outdone Roeder won the next four ends gaining 11 shots in the process to build a match-winning lead of 26-17.

Capper fought back at the death but went down 20-26.

Matt Leicester, Charlie Ward, Paul Sherman and Jim Lawrence lost to David Currie, Ken Mooney, Carey Locke and Ross Sizeland 20-21.

After 22 ends Sizeland had got out to 21-14 but Lawrence won the last three ends to pick up six shots.

In other division one matches, Morwell Club defeated Neerim District 112-90, Drouin beat Warragul 102-98 and Trafalgar was too good for Traralgon RSL, 103-95. For full results turn to page 34.

The state final of the 60+ ladies and men’s pairs events will be held at the Bairnsdale Bowls Club on Wednesday and Thursday this week.

The winners of the event in each of the 16 regions across Victoria will compete over two days to decide the champion bowler for that age class.

The following players will represent the Strzelecki Region: Shirley Whitechurch, Pat Trewin (s) (Traralgon) Judy Stainton, Sharon Whana (s) (Glenroy), Daryl Major, Ron Burge (s) (Composite) Bob Gladman and Jeff Janetzki (s) (Berwick).

The state pairs event will be completed today with the semi-finals and final to be played at Trafalgar.

The four teams involved in the finals are: Warragul skipped by Shirley Melsen, Traralgon RSL skipped by Kathy Smiles, Drouin skipped by Denise Hamilton and Warragul skipped by Pat Hammond.

The finals of the WGBD state fours will be held on Friday at Drouin Bowls Club.

The teams competing in the semi-finals are: Yallourn skipped by Jim Lawrence, Traralgon skipped by Ian Kirkup, Traralgon skipped by Geoff Cole, and Morwell skipped by David Dustan.