2021 Open State Championships – Day 5 Wrap

by Billy Johnson

Three new teams have been crowned as State Champions after another incredible day of play at Ettalong Bowling Club. Across all three categories, the matches were played to a standard worthy of a State Championship final. Bowls NSW congratulates our latest Open State Champions:

Open Pairs – Jack McShane & Shawn Thompson (Merrylands)

Senior Pairs – Anthony Gorrie & George McCartney (Sporties Tuncurry)

Reserve Pairs – Rob Gray & Max Gray (Belrose)

Magic Finish as Merrylands Beat Warilla

The State Open Pairs final had everything – quality bowls, incredible shot making, huge scores and a tight finish. Merrylands and Warilla exchanged shots in the early stages of the match, with the Gorillas holding a slight 7-5 lead about a third of the way through. From there, Jack McShane and Shawn Thompson went on an epic run, picking up scores of 4, 2 & 6 to jump away to a 17-7 lead. Not to be outdone, Brendan Aquilina and Lee Stinson hit right back picking up a 7 to trail 17-14.

From Aquilina and McShane’s impeccable drawing to Stinson’s conversions and Thompson’s trademark forehand drive, all four players were putting on a show for the strong Ettalong crowd. Heading into the final end, Warilla led 22-21 leaving Merrylands needing two to win and one to force an extra end. Some brilliance from the Merrylands duo to manufacture shot ensured that the final would go to a decisive extra-end.

Buoyed by the previous end, Merrylands continued to pepper the jack, with Thompson drawing two shots within inches of the jack from the second position. Despite their best efforts, neither Aquilina nor Stinson could wrestle back shot, allowing McShane and Thompson to take the match and the State title with a 23-22 win.

Still a junior, Jack McShane becomes one of the youngest ever State Championship winners, and is the first male junior bowler since 2013 to win an Open State Championship and Junior State Championship in the same year after he won the State Junior Singles title only a month ago. For Thompson, this is his second State Championship after winning the State Fours with Birrong back in 2001.

Sporties Tuncurry too Good in Senior Pairs Final

Anthony Gorrie and George McCartney were on a mission in the Senior Pairs final, playing superbly from the outset against Figtree Sports’ Alan Jones & Mark Kesby. The Figtree pair were well in the match at the halfway point, trailing by only a couple of shots. However, a decisive few ends saw Sporties Tuncurry jump ahead 19-11.

Figtree did well to claw their way back, but it proved to be just a little too much as Sporties Tuncurry held on for a 20-18 victory. The title is the first Open State Senior title for the Sporties Tuncurry club, a huge achievement. Congratulations must go to all players involved in what was a cracking final.

Bulls Hold Firm to Take Reserve Pairs Title

It was a case of déjà vu for Belrose’s Rob and Max Gray. The father and son duo stormed out of the gates to early leads in both their semi-final against St Johns Park and the final against Stuart Point, only to have their opposition claw their way back and eventually lead at the death. In both matches, Belrose trailed on the last end, needing two for victory. True to form, Rob and Max produced their best bowls when it mattered to win those ends on both occasions, securing the State Reserve Pairs title in the process.

Their final against Allan Low & Dale Jeffery (Stuarts Point) was worthy of an Open final, with countless tight heads and shots exchanged. All four players can be proud of their achievements and the way they represented their clubs. Congratulations to Rob and Max on an amazing win and a well deserved state title!

Click here to view the 2021 Open State Championship Results