Nairn’s the man – Men’s State Singles Wrap

by Pieter Harris

Past winners dominated the Dyenamic Sublimation Men’s WA State Singles semi-finals at the Bassendean Bowling Club on Sunday 24th January 2021, with only one player not previously having achieved the ultimate success.

The first semi final saw 2017 champion Blake Nairn (Cambridge) take on 2002 and 2008 champion John Goddard (Hopetoun). Nairn dominated the first three ends collecting twos on each occasion to jump to a 6-nil lead before Goddard found his groove to win the next four ends including a full count of four on the sixth end. The two combatants went end for end to reach 15-15 all when Goddard went on a four end run and picking up his second maximum of the game to lead 22-15. Not to be outdone, Nairn fought back with a three and a couple of singles to close the gap only to then see Goddard move to 24 and only one away for the final and Nairn’s elimination.

As happens in many wins, a little bit of luck is required at the right time. First a slightly offline Nairn drive saw his own bowl squeeze out of the pack to roll onto the jack and collect one shot to move to 23-24. The next end, with the jack moved off the line and a metre of room, Goddard lined up with the winning bowl, but he was unable to beat the closest bowl and allow Nairn to move to 24-24. The last end saw both players drop their first two bowls two to three feet short before Nairn nailed the jack and left Goddard with a wall of bowls to fight through. After a couple of gallant attempts, Nairn held his shot and moved onto the final in a classic semi-final.

Not to be outdone the second semi-final was just as intriguing with 2018 champion Warren Holt (Wagin) versus first time semi-finalist Daniel Wood (Swan). Both players displayed their whole array of shots making it a high quality and entertaining affair.

The game went end for end with no more than three shots between them until Wood began a run on the eighteenth end. Down 12-15, Wood went two, two, one and three to reach 20 before Holt was able to score again. Again, the players exchanged ends, but Holt was able to grab a two and a three to draw level at 21 all.

Wood took a two to draw within two of victory and had opportunities the next two ends but was unable to take full advantage and Holt hung in there with singles. With the pressure continuing to rise both players rose to the occasion as they stepped up to another level, going bowl for bowl with the excellent crowd willing their favourite on. Finally, when the dust settled, Holt produced the draw shots when it mattered at the end and fell over the line to go into another final.

As Blake Nairn had done in the semi-final, he started quickly and won the first five ends to put Warren Holt on the backfoot. After seven ends the score was 6-1 with only singles scored in a tightly contested game. Holt then began to find his range on a more consistent level and over the next eight ends and clawed his way back into the contest at 9-10. Seemingly going the better Holt looked likely to hit the front at some point but Nairn was having none of that. Steeping up his aggression, Nairn decided it was time to try and put Holt off his draw game. With his customary big drives hitting their mark, a different feel came over the game. By hitting his running shots, Nairn grew in confidence with his draw shots now becoming more consistent as well. First a two and then a three, the lead began to grow, a couple of singles and another three shot Nairn passed 20 and it looked like the championship was his for the taking. Nairn ended the match with eight straight ends totalling fifteen shots and the 2020-21 WA State Singles Championship.

Photo: Blake Nairn, left with Warren Holt and the State Singles Trophy

Men’s State Singles Section Results

Men’s State Singles Finals Results