Brown and Dutton to defend pairs title
After two hours, 15 ends, some magical bowling and a late comeback, it came down to the final bowl of the match for defending champions Emma Brown and Noelene Dutton to book a berth in the Australian Open’s women’s pairs final.
Pitted against Jackaroo teammates Kristy Thatcher and Claire Turley, with the scores tied at 11-all, Dutton drove the jack out of bounds, and the subsequent re-spot gave the reigning titleholders the chance of fairytale finish to their campaign, with a 12-11 victory.
Dutton said she was of two minds about how to play her last bullet, but backed herself to get the job done. “We didn’t know what to do, but we had the best back wood so we thought jack back is great, but there was still a bit of room to draw shot as well,” Dutton said reliving the final shot of the match.
The match was a classic from the start as both pairs were quick out of the block, a masterful drive by Turley on last bowl of first end, down one, picked up three shots. Brown peppered the jack, picking up two shots in the next end, and Turley on last bowl couldn’t get close enough to the jack, after Dutton had put them up three on her last bowl, and it was all square at 3-3 after two ends. At the sixth end Thatcher showed why she had made it this far with some precision bowling putting her team up two shots for the end.
Turley got another two shots on the end but Dutton on the final bowl managed to trail the Jack and undo most of the damage and the Jackaroo pair only managed one shot for the end and tied the scores 5-5. On the eighth end Brown produced some great bowling and put them up two shots but Turley undid all the good work by trailing the jack and putting them up two.
Dutton bowled two consecutive back bowls but couldn’t capitalise with her final bullet and sent it wide, missing the jack giving up 2 shots and the lead 8-5.
Down 9-7 going in the 12th end, Brown set up her partner nicely with three shots for the end, but a beautiful drive by Turley undid all the damage and the defending champs only had the one shot.
Dutton with her second and third bowl picked up two more shots and again were up three but Turley, with a roar from the delighted crowd, came to the rescue with a perfectly timed bowl that hit Dutton’s out of the way and placed her bowl smack bang next to the jack.
Thatcher and Turley managed to pick up a shot, a 10-7 lead, and it appeared the momentum of the match. The thirteenth end was the turning point in the game as Dutton, on successive drives, dislodged two opposing shots and put her team up 1.
Turley on final bowl couldn’t produce any more magic, with a weighted shot finishing in the ditch, Dutton on final bowl got a third shot and a measure gave them a forth and miraculously the lead 11-10 After Thatcher and Turley picked up a shot on the fourteenth end the scores were tied 11-11.
Dutton said she was still in two minds even as she got back to the mat to finish the match.
“We studied the head for what seemed liked eternity, and then when I went back down to the mat I was still thinking ‘do I drive or draw’, in the end I thought I have nothing to lose so let rip,” she said.
Fortune seems to be shining on the dynamic duo as earlier in the day, in their quarter-final, they again won on the final bowl against another pair of Jackaroos, Kelsey Cottrell and Lynsey Carke.
“It’s amazing just to get this far, we got out of jail this morning against Kelsey and Lynsey, I feel so bad for them but that’s the game of bowls,” she said “We are pumped to make the final but still a little bit shocked.”
In the other semi-final Jackie Mcwhinney-Shillington and Maria Rigby defeated Lyn Cuthbertson and Kiani Anderson 15-13.
The final of the women’s pairs will be played at Broadbeach Bowls Club on Thursday, June 25 at 11.00am.
The men’s pairs round four action is underway at Broadbeach, with the men’s and women’s fours final tonight from 5.00pm.