One win from redemption
South Australia’s green-keeper contingent of Steven Dennis, Nathan Pedersen, Wayne Ruediger and Scott Thulborn are just one win away from a redemption story 16 months in the making.
Thulborn’s team were the first to book themselves a berth in the $28,000 men’s fours final of the $225,000 Australian Open with a clinical semi-final performance tonight at Broadbeach, and are now just one hurdle away from claiming the elusive silverware that escaped their grasp in February last year at the Darwin International Sports Centre.
The Croweater team, which features two members of the APL franchise team Adelaide Endurance; Ruediger and Thulborn, ended the run of Colin Lowry, Kelvin Scott, Gary Mounsey and former New Zealand Blackjack Brian Baldwin to earn a consecutive fours final appearance.
After opening proceedings with 4 shots on the first end, Thulborn’s team took the rest of the game in their stride, claiming eight of the next 11 ends, including a count of 6 on the 11th end, to sow up the match with three ends to spare, 22-9 after 12.
Standing in their way of a maiden title, which will be staged tomorrow from 5.00pm at Broadbeach, is Dean McWhinney, Ian Law, New Zealand Blackjack Shannon McIlroy, and former Kiwi international Paul Girdler, after they escaped with a slender semi-final victory.
Girdler, the Tweed Head’s Bowls Coordinator, looked to have the early control in his encounter against the makeshift combination of Bruce Jones, Jason Watkins, John Aldersley and Darren Morrison, who have been in red hot form on the Gold Coast this week, but a blockbuster finish had the crowds on the edge of their seats.
Leading by as much as 8 shots twice in the encounter, 10-2 after 5 and 16-8 after 13, Girdler’s quartet seemed to have the game wrapped up and weren’t fazed when they surrendered 2 shots on the penultimate end, but looked more visibly distressed on the last end when determining how many they dropped, with a sigh of relief echoing the green when it was announced as 5, granting them a one shot victory.
The men’s fours final will be staged alongside the women’s at 5.00pm tomorrow at Broadbeach, with the women’s contenders decided yesterday through their semi-finals as Samantha Noronha, Natalie Noronha, Carla Odgers and Natasha Scott pitted against Jan Agar, Sue Auman, Sharon Renshaw and Beth Quinlan.
The winning teams will each pocket $20,000 in prize-money, while the runners-up will share in $8,000 at the world’s more lucrative open bowls event.