Rookie Pairs State Champions - Bradley Clark & Rick Lucey (Cabra Vale Diggers)

Cabra-Vale Dig their way to Rookie Pairs Win

by Billy Johnson

The 2022-23 Rookies State Finals have started in exceptional style, with sixteen pairs teams showing touches of brilliance and experience well beyond their years throughout a great day of play at Raymond Terrace Bowling Club. The short, sharp 12-end format made for some high quality matches with tight finishes littered throughout sectional play.

The greens at Raymond Terrace, affectionately known as ‘The Hangar’ were running beautifully with swooping hands making for slightly tougher conditions, but it didn’t seem to phase any of our Rookie pairs teams who adapted to the greens immediately. After sectional play was completed, it was Scott Burrows & Gregory Smith (Asquith/St Ives), Nicholas Lowe & David Hynes (Marrickville), Bradley Clark & Rick Lucey (Cabra-Vale Diggers) and Josh Eyles & Artie Stacey (Temora/Temora Ex) who managed to qualify for the semi-finals.

All four teams picked up a gear in these matches, putting on a show for the supportive crowd filled with club supporters as well as other rookie pairs sides sticking around after their sectional matches. Both semi-finals came down to the wire, with the Marrickville and Cabra-Vale duos getting up over the Asquith/St Ives and Temora/Temora Ex teams respectively.

The final started in similar fashion, with all four players jumping on the jack. Nick Lowe and Brad Clark had a great battle up front, peppering the jack – much to the delight of the vocal crowd. From there, both David Hynes and Rick Lucey pulled out an array of shots, from dead draws to brilliant on-shots. After exchanging early blows, barely anything separated either side on the scoreboard.

As the match wore on, Cabra-Vale dug deep and piled the pressure on Marrickville, holding solid counts on multiple ends. Despite some brilliant play from Nick and David, they couldn’t quite restrict Cabra-Vale who picked up crucial multiples to jump ahead on the scoreboard towards the three-quarter mark of the match and eventually secure a 15-7 win.

Well done to Brad, Rick, Nick, David and all the rookie bowlers who showed incredible skill over the days’ play.

Congratulations must also go to Roger Sewell & Samuel Murray (Campbelltown City) who were the recipients of the Mick Bell Award, which is given to the team that best embodies the spirit and sportsmanship of the Rookies event. Mick Bell is widely regarded as the ‘father of the rookies event’ in New South Wales, and this award is recognition for the wonderful work he did to get this event running and to where it is today. The Rookie Singles State Finals kicks-off Sunday morning at Raymond Terrace Bowling Club.

Click here to view the Rookie Pairs State Final Results