WA State Fours Champions Crowned
It was a great day to be out at the Bassendean Bowling Club on Sunday to witness the Semi-Finals and Finals of the Women’s and Men’s WA State Fours.
The first Women’s Semi-Final saw Patricia Boardman, Lili Lee Leach, Coral Smith, Nerrida Porteous (Sorrento) have a 17-13 win over Jane Lewis, Deborah Povey, Judy Etheridge, and Janice Miles (Mount Lawley). Lewis started strongly and built a 9-3 lead early in the match, only to see Boardman win six ends in a row to take a 12-9 lead. The match tightened up from there and the teams were locked together 13-13 going into the final end. A last end 4 saw Pat Boardman and her team reach the WA State Fours Final for the first time winning 17-13.
The second Semi-Final was a match with many of the who’s who in WA Women’s bowls over the last 10 years involved. The combination of Kristina Krstic, Hailey Packer, Robyn O’Brien, and Helen Heal (Manning) ended up being far too strong for Kaye Blackwell (Mt Pleasant), Rhonda Prosser (North Beach), Lee Poletti, and Kerry Andersen (Mosman Park). Krstic jumped straight to the lead and had four on the board before Blackwell put two consecutive singles together. Again, Krstic surged and at the halfway mark was leading 12-2. The Blackwell team were never able to recover and eventually, Krstic won 18-6 to go into another final.
Going into the final, as a combination Krstic, Packer, O’Brien, and Heal had won the State Fours on two previous occasions, with O’Brien having won four titles in total. For Boardman, Leach, Smith, and Porteous, this was their first State Fours Final
The final started in even fashion, with both teams getting singles in the first two ends. Krstic then won consecutive ends to go to 4-1 before Boardman got back on the scoreboard with another single. Again, Krstic put multiple ends together and got to the halfway mark of the match leading 9-2. Another single was all Boardman could get to go to 9-3 and then had to watch Krstic grab a big 5 shots, followed by consecutive singles and then a 4 to lead 20-3. A run of ends to Boardman saw the score tighten up a little but with not enough ends left Kristina Krstic, Hailey Packer, Robyn O’Brien, and Helen Heal were crowned the 2023-24 WA Women’s State Fours Champions with a 20-8 finals win.
The Men’s Semi-Finals shaped up as intriguing contests and we were not let down. Matthew Mitchell (Emu Point) had Mark Douthie (North Beach) sub into his team as Nathan Jones was unavailable due to illness, Miles Kemp, and Scott O’Brien (Manning) completed the team. Mitchell started slowly up against Justin Opie (South Perth), Ash Sharp Merredin), Troy Kinane (Bassendean), and Scott Walker (South Perth) with Opie jumping out to a 6-0 lead. Two consecutive ends to Mitchell saw him back in the contest at 5-6 and by the 10th end had hit the front 9-8. A three to Opie saw his team back in front by two before the teams were level on the 13th and 15th end with only three ends left to play. A single to Mitchell saw him stick his nose in front and he was able to keep it that way by winning the last two ends for a 16-12 win.
In the second semi-final the combination of Kyle McIlroy (Doubleview), Stewart Gosstray (Armadale), Steve Cerff, and Gavin Faulkner (Doubleview) got a single on the first end to get the game underway, but they quickly found themselves behind 1-6 to Shane Giudice-Nairn (Geraldton), Joel Leeson (Denison), Jon Trotter (Geraldton), and Ben Leggett (Joondalup). The two teams traded ends from end 6 through to end 14, with Giudice-Nairn leading 9-5 at the halfway mark and 11-9 by the 14th end. With the last three ends going to Giudice-Nairn, the game ended with Giudice-Nairn defeating Mcilroy 17-9 to earn a place in the final.
Two teams in top form entered the WA Men’s State Fours Final and they both put on a terrific show going bowl for bowl. The jack was trailed often, bowls were sat out by the opposition often and the skips drew important shots for their team often.
Matthew Mitchell, Mark Douthie, Miles Kemp, and Scott O’Brien started the game strongly by collecting two 3’s in the first three ends to lead 6-1. Shane Giudice-Nairn, Joel Leeson, Jon Trotter, and Ben Leggett hit back by winning three consecutive ends to draw level at 6-6. A single to Mitchell was followed by consecutive 3’s to Guidice-Nairn to get to the halfway mark leading 12-7. Amazing bowls continued to flow, and every end was up for grabs until the last bowl. Mitchell grabbed a big 4 shots to close within one and then got a single to even it up. Giudice- Nairn took a two and Mitchell grabbed another 4 to take a two-shot lead. Another 4 was won, but this time it was to Giudice-Nairn as he retook the lead 18-16. The scorecard made it look like not a lot of defense was taking place but in reality it was the result of close heads and every bowl making a difference and making it possible for a team to score in multiples.
A single to Giudice-Nairn on the 4th last end and a single to Mitchell on the 3rd last end kept the margin at two, but then a 2 to Giudice-Nairn on the second last end, suddenly made life very difficult for Mitchell with a 21-17 lead to Giudcie-Nairn. For most of the last end a 4 was highly possible for Mitchell but a well-drawn second shot to Giudice-Nairn with his last bowl, made that result, while still possible, unlikely. Mitchell took the only real option to him, which was to try and kill the end. Unfortunately for Matt Mitchell, his bowl missed the jack by millimeters and Shane Giudice-Nairn, Joel Leeson, Jon Trotter, and Ben Leggett took the title of WA Men’s State Fours Champion’s 21-18.