Brett Goodchild & Andrew Nichols (South Tamworth) - Winners

South Tamworth Schoolmates Secure Rookie Pairs Title

by Billy Johnson

Andrew Nichols & Brett Goodchild (South Tamworth) are the 2023-24 Rookie Pairs State Champions after defeating Josh Eyles & Artie Stacey (Temora Ex-Services) in an amazing final. The win is a dream come true for the South Tamworth duo, who have been close mates since school and decided to take up the sport together. They’ve proven to be fast learners, accounting for the Temora Ex-Services team who finished as semi-finalists in this same event last year. At the halfway stage of the match barely a shot separated each side, with all four players finding their range. The crucial moment came in the tenth end when South Tamworth picked up a count of four with some incredible shots, and continued that run to finish off 17-8 winners.

Anyone who witnessed the match will be aware just how well all players performed, a sign that their bowling careers can only improve from this solid foundation.

South Tamworth were dominant in their sectional rounds, winning their three matches with a margin of +40. In the quarter-finals, they edged out Bruce Patchett & Steven Woods (Nelson Bay) 14-10 before holding off Toby Wallace & Gary Devlin (Alstonville/Ballina) in the semi-final 11-9. South Tamworth were 9-3 ahead after 7 ends, but the Alstonville/Ballina duo clawed their way back into the match to trail by two shots with two ends to play. The South Tamworth held their nerve at the death to earn their place in the final.

Temora Ex-Services experienced a far tighter sectional round, relying on a superior shot margin to win their way through to the quarter-finals. At the end of sectional play, three of the four teams finished on two wins, and it was a huge 20-3 win for Temora Ex-Services over Cowra that secured their place in the post-sectional rounds. To highlight just how close this section was, Jake Brown & Paul Kirwan (Parkes Railway) who finished in fourth lost all three of their matches by a solitary shot! Tough results but a great experience nonetheless. Temora Ex-Services enjoyed a 19-3 quarter final win over Engadine, which set them up against Scott Ellis & Joel Field (Charlestown), Joel fresh off his Rookie Singles State title. The match, which was live streamed, was an epic that went down to the final bowl. Shots were exchanged multiple times in the last few ends with every player showing experience well beyond their rookie status.

Congratulations to Andrew Nichols & Brett Goodchild on winning the Rookie Pairs State Finals and to Josh Eyles & Artie Stacey on helping produce an exceptional final for the spectators today. The quality of bowls on display over this event was matched by the level of sportsmanship from every player and team, and Bowls NSW would like to congratulate everyone who took part.

Click here to view the full event results

Brett Goodchild & Andrew Nichols (South Tamworth) – Winners

Artie Stacey & Josh Eyles (Temora Ex-Services) – Runners Up

Toby Wallace (Alstonville) & Gary Devlin (Ballina) – Semi Finalists

Scott Ellis & Joel Field (Charlestown) – Semi Finalists

Mick Bell Encouragement Award

Congratulations to Sophie Payne (Merrylands) and Oscar Hide (Northmead) who were the recipients of the Mick Bell Encouragement Award. The award is presented to the players that best embody the spirit and sportsmanship of the Rookies event. Sophie and Oscar conducted themselves brilliantly on the green throughout the event, showing incredible skill matched by their sportsmanship and camaraderie, making them deserving award recipients.

Bowls NSW President Dilys Kindleysides with Sophie Payne and Oscar Hide