2022-23 State Championships Triples Wrap
Article by Ben Krikstolaitis
Two-bowl triples is a tough game. There is little room for error and each bowl must be delivered impeccably. At this level, simple mistakes can cost you the game and in the State Championships that pressure is amplified.
Comebacks are hard work and your opponent kicking off to a bit of a lead can be hard to peg back. It’s unforgiving, and that’s why we love it.
The three clubs hosting this 2022/23 State Championships, Figtree Sports, Towradgi Bowls and Recreation and Wiseman Park Wollongong Bowling Club, have been full of keen triples players from around the state. Each hunting for a rare piece of silverware, a NSW State Championship.
Open Reserve Triples
Russell Manning, Darryl Bruest & Ben Gersbach (Temora Ex Services) kicked off their campaign in fine style, topping their ladder in a great result for the country boys. Country teams are a very proud lot and it showed in each of their games.
In Section two, things were a bit different. Manu Tunga, Heath Austin & Bruce Evans (Wiseman Park Wollongong City) and Michael Fallows, Robert Saric & Warren Binney (Ballina) both won two games and tied with each other in the second game. The Wiseman Park Wollongong City team won through the section on shot margin.
Section three’s result was no less bizarre with Chris Letherbarrow, Justin Sylvester & Mark Harrison (Ettalong Memorial) winning through with two wins and a draw. Second place, Roger Newman, Andrew Weaver & Paul Hodkinson (Castle Hill) had two wins and a draw, but their inferior shot margin sent the Ettalong team through to the semi-final.
Baden Powell, Andrew Reynolds & Mark Fitzalan (Nyngan) had a good, strong set of wins and a margin of 36 shots to earn their place in the semi-finals and a shot at securing a state championship.
The first semi between Temora Ex-Services and Wiseman Park Wollongong City went down to the wire. A close game all the way and an exciting ending but the Temora trio just did enough to sneak past the regional city team from Wiseman Park Wollongong City.
The second semi-final was another hard-fought affair between two passionate teams who love the game and play hard for each other. Ettalong played an exceptional game but were just outdone by the Nyngan team – the Bogan Shire team ecstatic at earning a place in a state championship final.
It came down to this, a final between two teams from Western NSW. Both teams playing on the coastal plains between the mountains and the sea at the magnificent Figtree Sports Club. As all good country sports events are, the game was played hard but in great spirit as the teams went shot for shot over 25 ends.
At the end it was a five-shot difference and a new set of champions crowned. Russell Manning, Darryl Bruest & Ben Gersbach of Temora Ex-Services saluting the crowd and receiving the trophy to the delight of their supporters and their hometown.
Women’s Senior Triples
The senior women’s sectional play can be summed up by saying that four teams really dominated their sections with three wins each and a large margin of shots between them and their competitors.
Colleen Galvin, Mary Astill & Dianne Mackay (Warilla), Jan Sutherland, Vacie McIntyre & Betty Herbertson (Soldiers Point), Kaylene Meredith, Kaye Haberman & Donna Evans (Commercial Albury) and Margaret Sheean, Diane Murphy & Janet Newell (Taren Point) all won through to their semi-finals in what were a series of powerful games in the lead up to the final.
The Soldiers Point team, who had a 91 shot score differential at the end of sectional play, proved too strong for a quality Warilla side, winning by 10 shots and a earning a place in the final.
It was somewhat closer on the rink next door with the Commercial Albury and Taren Point teams battling it out shot for shot. Neither team was able to gain a real advantage. Commercial Albury were pleased, it seemed, that the game finished when it did as they just snuck over the line by one shot.
The final was played in a tough, competitive spirit. The two teams working hard to gain the momentum and kick away. It is hard to do in this game and neither side was able to do it at any point. Soldiers Point, the strongest of the teams throughout the tournament managed to win by a single shot, 19 to 18 and hold the trophy aloft.
Men’s Senior Triples
Sectional play for the Senior Men was a mixed bag of results for all competitors. Paul Curtis, Stuart Wright & Shane Dollar of Bronte managed to finish third in Section 3 despite having a positive score margin which is an oddity.
In addition to that, three wins to the teams of Brian Suckley, David Wakeling & Robbie Warren (Towradgi), Greg Brims, Peter Stockham & Peter Taylor (Westport) and Mark Barton, Trevor Imer & Dale Maitland (Wenty Leagues) gave them a good run up to the semi-finals.
Neil Williams, Michael Gibbons & Richard Thornton (The Entrance) and Peter Fisher, Stewart Angwin & John Rees (Kurri Kurri) tied on points with two wins each at the end of sectional play, but it was the team from The Entrance who went through with a three shot differential lead over Kurri Kurri.
The semi-finals were closer than their scorelines indicate. All four teams playing brilliant shots and every player at the top of their game but in the end it was the teams of Brian Suckley, David Wakeling & Robbie Warren (Towradgi) and Greg Brims, Peter Stockham & Peter Taylor (Westport) to battle it out for the trophy.
Well, it was all Towradgi from there. Peter Taylor, who has bowled brilliantly the entire tournament, tried everything he could but just couldn’t keep pace with the team led by Robbie Warren who ran away winners 29 shots to 16. A big contingent of Towradgi bowlers cheered as the local qualifiers secured the win.
Women’s State Triples
The sections in this tournament were terrifyingly good. Everywhere you looked up and down the team sheets you saw talent. Club legends, state representatives, national representatives, coaches, bowls organisers and just great players showing up for one of the marquee championships in Australia.
Section one winners, Kate Matthews, Genevieve Delves & Natasha Van Eldik (Raymond Terrace) had three good wins over some enormous talent with Engadine triplet Rebekah Lord, Samantha Ferguson & Anne Johns (Engadine) coming in a close second.
Sections two and three were won similarly by well-known players, Colleen Starr, Joan Thomas & Sarah Boddington (Forster) and Suzanne Fischer, Julie Baker & Billie Maas (Belrose).
Section four was won by a strong team from Northmead Bowling Club, Julie Lovejoy-Kennedy, Angela Platt & Maelene Reynolds. Maelene is one of the real characters of our game and it was great to see her expressiveness in her games. She always wears her heart on her sleeve while on the greens.
The first semi-final between Raymond Terrace and Belrose was a close game to start with. Both teams trying to come to terms with the nature of the green. But it was Natasha Van Eldik’s team who kicked away, using the extremely accurate, short Jack delivery by Kate Matthews to great effect and the resultant big win.
The second semi was an all-time classic. A long, long game that continued well after the other teams were enjoying the refreshments provided by Figtree Sports. They fought hard and doggedly but the experienced state level campaigner Sarah Boddington won out by three shots to make it to the final.
A foreboding task faced Forster in the final, coming up against Raymond Terrace who have essentially owned the Women’s State Triples having won it six times in the past eight years. Forster started well but found it tough to keep pace with the consistency of the Jets trio. Kate Matthews was at it again, delivering the shortest of short lengths to an accuracy of a few centimetres over and over again. The powerhouse duo of Genevieve Delves and Natasha Van Eldik, fresh from an Australian Open pairs win, were deadly accurate and they won the day 23 shots to 6. A dominant display by the newly crowned State Champions who will head to Perth with a lot of confidence.
Men’s State Triples
Another star-studded lineup arrived for the State Championship Men’s Triples and the sections proved difficult to get out of and into the next round. The biggest winners were Jack Lewis, Callum Murray & Mason Lewis (Engadine) with three wins and a 46 shot differential.
Three wins to Trevor Gillis, Craig Roberts & Lee Stinson from Warilla saw them nicely into a semi-final. In section two, Michael Phillips, Heath Lewis & Darren Morrison (Merrylands) got through on two wins and a positive score differential with every team below them with a negative score.
The familiar names of Jamie Minter, Ian Lean & Shannon Gittoes (Raymond Terrace) made up the last of the semi-finalists after two wins and a narrow 9-point differential in their favour over David Dilworth, Nathan Dawson & Brody Pitham (Club Maitland City).
The semi-finals were two very different affairs. Darren Morrison and the team from Merrylands were in control against Raymond Terrace despite the obvious skill of Shannon Gittoes and his team, earning a solid victory.
Lee Stinson’s Warilla triples team had it much harder, having to come back from a huge deficit to win by a couple of shots. The comeback was made from a remarkable four end run of thirteen shots to bring them back to the lead.
The final was played between two teams featuring some of New South Wales’ best bowlers, and despite the efforts of the Gorillas, their fight-back heroics in the semi-final couldn’t quite be emulated again in the final. The Merrylands team were relentless in securing a win and the title of Men’s State Triples champions.
Women’s Senior State Triples Runners-Up – Kaylene Meredith, Kaye Haberman & Donna Evans (Commercial Albury)
Men’s Senior State Triples Champions – Brian Suckley, David Wakeling & Robbie Warren (Towradgi)
Men’s Senior State Triples Runners-Up – Greg Brims, Peter Stockham & Peter Taylor (Westport)
Open Reserve Triples Champions – Darryl Bruest, Ben Gersbach & Russell Manning (Temora Ex Services)
Open Reserve Triples Runners-Up – Baden Powell, Andrew Reynolds & Mark Fitzalan (Nyngan)
Women’s State Triples Champions – Kate Matthews, Natasha Van Eldik & Genevieve Delves (Raymond Terrace)
Women’s State Triples Runners-Up – Sarah Boddington, Joan Thomas & Colleen Starr (Forster)
Men’s State Triples Champions – Darren Morrison, Heath Lewis & Michael Phillips (Merrylands)
Men’s State Triples Runners-Up – Trevor Gillis, Craig Roberts & Lee Stinson (Warilla)
Women’s Senior State Triples Champions – Jan Sutherland, Betty Herbertson & Vacie McIntyre (Soldiers Point)