Men’s Country Week Preview

by Aaron Delaporte

York Trio Eye off Rare Double

Three York players will be eyeing off rare doubles when the Domina BCiB Mens Country Week gets underway this Friday. Hayden Smith and partner Phil Jones are the current W.A. State Pairs champions and have the opportunity to claim a unique double by winning the Country Week pairs as well, in the same season.

Records suggest this has only been done once before, in 2002 by Peiter Harris and Maurie Crameri from Cunderdin.

Justin Smith is defending the blue ribbon Country week singles title. If he goes back to back he will join elite company of the likes of Keith Doncon and Harris. This feat has only been done four times previously.  Justin and brother Aaron Smith will combine in the pairs this year as a composite side due to Aaron relocating to Esperance. Aaron won the state pairs last season with other brother Nathan who now plays in Perth.

All three Smith’s join Jones in the fours to form a formidable combination.

This year over 900 country bowlers from 112 clubs will make the pilgrimage to Perth from all over the state. Many players will also be involved in lead up tournaments and some players will proudly represent their club in the Country All Stars v State team game played on Thursday night.

Country week involves three disciplines, singles in sections of three players, pairs in sections of four teams and fours in sections of six teams. Players also compete for the P.S Bignell Perpetual Memorial Shield for the most outstanding country club during country week. Last year Geraldton (pictured) claimed the honour.

Country week 2019 will conclude on Friday with finals to be played on the slick Bassendean greens.

Updated Country Week Results will be posted via a Google Results Sheets – Men’s Country Week Championships Results

Live Streaming on finals day will be available via the Bowls WA Facebook Page

Here is a short preview of each discipline and those fancied to challenge for the title.

Singles

Last year’s champion Justin Smith from York will begin his title defence at Yokine. In his section is Geoff Whyatt the 1996 Champion from Eaton. Smith’s Brother Aaron will compete at Osborne Park and father Hayden starts his campaign at the new Cockburn facility. An interesting section is 104 at Dalkeith Nedlands where two former winners and ex-teammates Matty France and Boomer Gearing clash.

Other players likely to challenge this year are former State singles champion Warren Holt from Wagin, Mandurah’s Matt Ayres, Mark Simpson, Robbie Tiller and recently crowned club singles champion Scott O’Brien.  John Goddard from Hopetoun, John Sharp from Emu Point, Busselton’s Matty Pennington, Brad King from Geraldton and the current Everest Champion Russell Bates from Dudley Park could all feature.

Another fancy state player Matt Mitchell has withdrawn from country week due to family committments.

Pairs

Looking to go back to back in 2019 are Geraldton pair Joe Criddle and Jeff Eaton. They begin their campaign at Sorrento and face an early sectional challenge against Mark Szczecinski and Clifton Combie from Corrigin. State Pairs title holders Smith and Jones are at Yokine. They will face the experienced Busselton duo of Richard Pennington and Don Rodgers early on. Past winners looking to repeat their success are Glen Jones and Dan Jolly from Dalwallinu, and the Gnowangerup pair off Vic Wellstead and Kevin Heberle. Other strong pairs include the Smith brothers, former state players Steve Withers and Simpson from Mandurah, and Brad Ball and Bates from Dudley Park.

Fours

2018 Winners from Moora in Phil Manning, Bruce Manning, Peter Manning and Mick Rodan will look to defend from the picturesque Mosman Park club. A strong Quairading side skippered by Bill Fraser will make the sectional play here interesting. The combined Thomson and Button side from Tammin will also be hard to beat.

Looking to progress from Yokine will be Pennington and his strong Busselton team, and Ayres who skippers a team from the successful Manning 5 a side win earlier in the season.

Expect to see the Colin O’Brien side from Wonthella and Graeme Needs team from Dudley Park progress from Manning.

Several strong sides will battle it out at Sorrento; they include the Whyatt team from Eaton, and former winners Szczecinski and team from Corrigin.

Over at Hilton Park the Richard Wheeldon Tammin side will start favourite in section 17. His team includes the powerful Josh Brooks who is returning to the greens. In section 18, the composite side made up of current and former Goldfields bowlers in Shane Pullan, Con Funazzi, Steve Bettridge and Dennis Treen should be too strong and claim their section.

Section 19 at Osborne Park is a beauty and could go either way. A winner must be found from a section that includes Ball and side from Dudley Park, France’s strong quartet from Merredin, Gearing from Busselton and Wes Benton’s strong Latham side.

There are four sections at Dalkeith Nedlands. Among the strongest sides appear to be those skippered by Holt from Wagin, Geoff Main from Kellerberrin, and Crameri from Cunderdin.

Of the remaining sections expect to see the likes of Simpson from Mandurah, Mark Wunnenberg from Darkan, Geoff Hosking from Moodiarrup, Sharp from Emu Point, King from Geraldton, and Rob Bowron from Eaton feature prominently.

Vale- Trevor Gibbs (10/5/1941-12/2/2019) Trevor was the 1995 Country Weeks Singles winner, representing Darkan. Trevor also played in Perth for Gosnells. Condolences to his family and friends.

Contribution by David Appleton