Bruce Eagles, Ian Linford, Greg Taylor claim Motobility Triples Crown

by Pieter Harris

Sorrento’s Bruce Eagles, Ian Linford and Greg Taylor withstood plenty of pressure against the composite combination of Markus Merz, Max Petrich, and Greg Reagan to secure their first Motobility Men’s Over 60’s State Triples title at the Sorrento Bowling Club on Wednesday.

In the Semi finals the Eagles skipped team controlled the whole game against Lionel Bell, Ken Stower and Peter Allen by jumping out to an early 7-0 lead. A 12-4 scoreline at the halfway mark of the 18-end game allowed the Sorrento team to play with confidence to run out eventual winners 20-10.

The other semi final saw a much closer game early in proceedings before eventually becoming a similar scoreline to the 1st semi-final. The Merz team started quickly up against the composite team of Peter Cole, John Trewhella, and Denis Nagle by leading 4-1 after three ends. However, Cole won three of the next four ends to lead 8-5 after seven ends. Three winning ends in a row then put Merz in a lead that his team would never relinquish. After trading a couple of further ends, Merz won five of the last six ends to pull away to a 21-11 win and a place in the final.

Playing in blustery conditions at Sorrento is not unheard of and the local team used that to their advantage early in the Motobility Men’s Over 60’s State Triples Final. Winning five of the first six ends, including a three on the first and third end gave Eagles, Linford, and Taylor an 8-2 advantage after five ends. The next five ends promised to put the Sorrento triple in an even more commanding position if it had not been for the inspired play of opposition skip Marcus Merz. A combination of solid play from Sorrento and Merz’s teammates struggling to find a consistent line and length in the conditions, left Merz playing to down heads more often than not.

Three ends in a row Merz produced several saves by drawing shot with his last bowl. On the ninth end, Merz was able to produce a running shot that moved the jack towards the boundary to go one down instead of four down and then on the tenth end Merz sat an opposition bowl out of the head to go from one up to four up and draw his team level 9-9.

As the breeze began to die down, Eagles hit back with a three of his own before the Merz team went on a run to win the next five ends in a row. While Merz’s teammates had produced some good bowls early in the game, they had been inconsistent, it was at this point Petrich and Reagan found some consistency and put the Sorrento front end players of Linford and Taylor under more pressure than they had been earlier in the match.

With Merz still playing well it was up to the Sorrento combination to dig in and absorb the pressure and try to counterattack. At 17-12 up with only two ends to play it look like Merz was on his way to complete a great comeback victory. However, a loose seventeenth end saw Eagles holding four shots with only one bowl each for the skips to play. As he had done most of the game, Merz stepped up and drew what looked like the match-winning shot, finishing less than a foot from the jack. But this time it was Eagles turn to answer his teams call by calmly stepping up with his last bowl and sitting the Merz shot out, making four shots, and drawing within one going into the last end.

The last end was befitting of a final with the players going bowl for bowl. On the cross over to the skip’s bowls, it was Ian Linford with the tying bowl inches from the jack. With Eagles having the first bowl, he was unable to add to the count and draw the winning shot. Merz then stepped up and as he had done earlier in the game took the Sorrento bowl out to hold shot and have one hand on the trophy. Not to be denied, Eagles then played the bowl of the day. With two second shots, Eagles decided to put the pressure on and go for the win rather than drawing for an extra end. Finding his way through a small gap between the front bowls, Eagles was able to connect with the Merz team shot bowl, pushing it out of the head and snatching the trophy from the opposition grasp. Merz had one bowl to rectify the situation and claim the match but was unable to draw close enough leaving Bruce Eagles, Ian Linford and Greg Taylor with two shots, to claim a remarkable win 18-17.