South West complete hat trick at IZRR

by Aaron Delaporte

The 2019 WA Country Interzone Championship has been run and won. The South West Zone prevailed with the winner decided on the final end in their last game against the Eastern Zone at Emu Point Bowling Club on February 2nd and 3rd..

The win, completed a hat trick of titles for South West (main picture) with the Shield being accepted by an emotional South West Zone President Bob Plater.

Day one saw cold and blustery conditions greet bowlers at the Emu Point club. Southern Zone President Wayne (Buck) Rodgers welcomed officials, players and also Roger Barnes (WA State Men’s Chair of Selectors) and Tony Hockey (State Men’s Coach)  who were in attendance. Tournament Director Margie Rance also addressed players and outlined the conditions of play.

The Eastern Zone took the early championship advantage with big wins on Saturday against Southern Zone 122 shots to 79 (4 rinks) in the morning and Northern Zone in the afternoon 110 shots to 84 (3 rinks). The Hayden Smith led rink and the Geoff Main side winning both their games handsomely.

The South West Zone started well beating Northern comfortably 116 shots to 70 (4 rinks) set up by an impressive 32-6 shot win by Matt Pennington and his team over Joe Criddle. However, the were defeated by a determined Southern Zone 104 shots to 100 (3 rinks) in the afternoon. Matty Mitchell and his side won 4 of their last 5 ends against Brad Ball to secure the aggregate. The win by Southern kept their title hopes alive and ensured an exciting day two.

On Sunday the Southern Zone narrowly defeated a regrouped Northern Zone 89 shots to 86 (2 rinks). Wins to John Sharp and Matty Mitchell secured the aggregate despite Northern claiming the three other rink wins.

The South West team were looking for 4 rink wins or 3 rink wins and shots up to overtake Eastern in the final game. Eastern Zone lead South West early with Hayden Smiths side getting away to a big lead early on against Pennington. South West rallied late with Ball picking up good numbers against Bill Fraser. With 3 rink wins looking likely, Mark Simpson and side fought hard to level the scores with one end to play against Geoff Main, they actually held game and the important fourth rink point. However, Eastern skipper Main with his last bowl played weight brilliantly to remove shot bowl and claim the important rink win.

On the next rink and with shots up now critical South West’s Gary Keep who was down 6 shots at the head kept his cool and with his last bowl drew second shot to limit the damage and secure the rink.

That left Bill Fraser and Ball’s rinks to decide the winning zone over the final 3 ends. Fraser who drove accurately throughout the game often saving big numbers, removed the South West shot bowl on the second last end to creep closer. Fraser also drew a second counter on the last end which had the mathematicians working overtime. With his final bowl Ball drove powerfully to sink the jack in the ditch and come to rest next to it for shot and to finish off a wonderful game.

When the dust settled three Zones; Southern, Eastern and South West had all finished on 2 wins and 4 points. Eastern and South West were level on 9 rink wins with South West narrowly winning by a handful of shots.

A very strong Country All Star side was then announced to challenge the State squad later this month. Congratulations to those players selected. Bowlers then departed in different directions to return home.

COUNTRY ALL STARS TEAM (Skips mentioned first)
M Simpson, M Ayres, G Keep, R Bates
H Smith, P Jones, G Main, R Moselle
J Sharp, M France, R Plant, R Schinzig
J Smith, M Pennington, C Russell, G Watson
P Manning, B King, T O’Brien, S O’Brien
R Tiller, B Ball, C Schell, J Cowie

Congratulations also goes to country players Warren Holt (Wagin), Matty Mitchell (Emu Point) and Russell Bates (Dudley Park) on their selection in the final state squad of 16 players.  We wish them well in their endeavours to be selected in the final side of 12.

Finally, a special mention must go to South West’s heroic Skipper Robbie Tiller. He returned to Mandurah on Saturday night after two games in Albany to celebrate and honour a family commitment and was back by 8am Sunday to play bowls. A 900km return trip.

Thank you goes to the Southern Zone and Emu Point Club for hosting this year’s event and all the volunteers. Next year’s Interzone championship will be held in Kalgoorlie.

Story by David Appleton. Information supplied by Margie Rance – Southern Zone Secretary

The Winning Side

Team Results