Zone 1 Defeat Zone 13 in a Thrilling End to the Inter-Zone Championships

by Billy Johnson

This year’s Inter-Zone Sides Championship was a history-making event, with the final coming down to an extra-end shootout for the first time ever. In the shoot-out, it was Zone 1 who edged out Zone 13 to win their first-ever Inter-Zone Championships title. Both sides exchanged leads throughout the early stages of the match, and with the match on the line, the live stream rink of Peter Taylor against Ray Pearse produced some of the best bowls ever seen on live stream. You could sense the tension out on the greens, but it didn’t seem to impact the players who produced some of their best shots in those moments.

After 63 ends, both sides were inseparable at 55-55. The tie meant that each of the three rinks had to go out and play an extra end each, with the overall winner of those three ends determining the winner of the match and the Championship. Picking up where they left off, Peter Taylor and Ray Pearse’s teams were peppering the jack, and it came down to Taylor’s final bowl which was a pinpoint drive that peeled off two Zone 13 bowls to leave Zone 1 holding shot. An umpire had to be called to measure second shot and, given the circumstances, the official did incredibly well to determine that Zone 1 had picked up a count of two on the rink. Zone 1 skips Luke Jones and Jamie Eichorn each had one bowl left to play, but with Zone 1 holding one shot on one rink and down one shot on the other, they both declared their heads to claim a 58-57 victory in some of the most bizarre circumstances seen on a bowling green. The excitement of the extra-ends were a perfect way to finish what was an incredible final.

The win secured the first ever Inter-Zone Championships title for Zone 1, and no one could argue that they don’t deserve it, having beaten Zone 2, Zone 12 and Zone 13 in the process. Incredibly, Zone 13 only lost one rink by a solitary shot across the whole Championship, highlighting just how solid the side has been throughout the event and how tough the competition has been.

In the earlier semi-finals, it was interesting to note that three of the four semi-finalists finished second in their section, again highlighting just how competitive the field has been this year. Zone 13 came up against fellow Section 3 qualifiers Zone 16 in the first semi-final. Zone 13 got the better of the Illawarra side in sectional play and it was a similar story in their second encounter, albeit a much tighter score line. Zone 13 scraped through 54-52, winning two of the three rinks by a single shot to secure their spot in the final. It was a very different story in the second semi-final as Zone 1 came up against Zone 12. Zone 1 surprised the competition when they got the better of a highly fancied Zone 2 side in the quarter finals by 20 shots, and faced an equally difficult task coming up against the consistently strong Zone 12. Undeterred, the Far North Coast side picked up where they left off the previous day, jumping out of the blocks and playing brilliantly to beat South West Sydney 60-27. Each of the three rinks performed exceptionally to defeat the star-studded Zone 12 outfit.

Congratulations to Zone 1 on a brilliant win, and to all competitors on making this Inter-Zone event one of the best in recent memory. Bowls NSW would like to thank our host clubs Club Maitland City and Lorn Park for their hospitality over the last week.

Click here to view the Inter-Zone Sides Championship results