The Malaga Australian Pairs Competition.
Mijas Bowls Club
Sunday 14th - Wednesday 17th May 2023
Congratulations to the 2023 Champions Jeff Turner and Ron Jones (Lauro Golf Bowls Club) and commiserations to Runners Up Simone Morgan and Mary Detheridge (Santa Maria Bowls Club)
Australian Pairs Report
This is an Open Knockout Competition which means that teams may be made up of any combination of men and women from the same Club.
The format, for those unfamiliar with it is where one player plays 2 bowls, his partner plays 4 bowls then the original player bowls his remaining 2 bowls.
The Quarter Finals of the Australian Pairs saw 4 really good games of bowls.
John Wilson and Angela Holt (Mijas Bowls Club) faced tough opposition from Jack Gordon and Jan Heywood (Benavista Bowls Club). In a tight game, Jack and Jan actually won 10 of the 18 ends but went down to a 20-14 defeat, thanks mainly to a very good start in the crucial early part of the game. The home players picked up 5 shots on the 4th end to lead 10-2. Both teams were pretty evenly matched after that point but the Benavista pair was unable to reduce the deficit and catch up.
In another eagerly anticipated clash Bill Neal and Juan Abeal (Mijas Bowls Club) picked up a 4 on the first end against Simone Morgan and Mary Detheridge (Santa Maria Bowls Club)and increased their lead over the next few ends. However, home advantage wasn’t really a thing in this match as both Mijas and Santa Maria share the facilities and both teams consider the green “home2” Simone and Mary took advantage of a couple of loose ends by their opponents and picked up 3 shots on the 7th end and then another 4 on the 11th end as the tricky Rink 2 made its peculiarities felt. With the score 11-11 after 12 ends the ladies were the more consistent , winning 6 of the final 8 ends to take a 19-14 victory.
Jeff Turner and Ron Jones (Lauro Golf Bowls Club) faced a second Mijas team, John Rimmel and Kevin Bravant. In a game of tight heads and fine margins, the luck went the way of the Lauro team, with Kevin in particular just missing shots, or worse hitting great shots only to have the result go against him. The final score of 26-6 no reflection on the quality of the bowling.
In the game of the round David Prain and Barry Holt (another Mijas team) were up against Doug and
Julie Hall from Benavista Bowls Club. Doug and Julie settled into the rhythm and pace of the green very quickly and were looking comfortable at 8-3 up but only won 1 of the next 6 ends to see David and Barry drag themselves back to an 11-11 score line at 14 ends. The last four ends were scintillating. 13-11, 13-13, 14-13 and going into the last end 1 shot in the lead Doug and Julie were holding 2 or 3 when barry played the last bowls of the game - and trailed the jack 4 feet to pick up a match winning 3 and win 16-14.
The Semi-Finals saw Simone and Mary drawn against David and Barry in what proved to be a very one sided match as the Santa Maria pair turned on the style on a rink both teams knew well. Winning 13 of the 17 ends played, they ran out deserving winners 23-7 with the score line not flattering them at all. David in particular had some close "near misses" and Barry is always dangerous but on the day, they weren't on their game, or perhaps weren't alowed to be thanks to the excellent bowling of Mary and Simone.
The other Semi-Final was a much closer game. Angela Holt and John Wilson (Mijas) faced Ron Jones and Jeff Turner (Lauro) in what was to prove an epic encounter. Ron and Jeff won the first 4 ends and looked in fine form on the notorious rink 2, taking a 5-0 lead. Then they had a really loose end and Angie and John picked up a score of 4 without having to have close bowls. That was the start of a run of 4 winning ends themselves to go 9-5 ahead.
Ron and Jeff won the next 5 ends, picking up 12 shots on the way – and it could have been more – holding 7 on the 11th end until John drew in to cut it down to 2 with his last bowl of the end. That gave the Lauro pair a 17-9 lead and you would be forgiven if you thought it was game over.
Angie and John picked up 6 shots to 1 in the next 4 ends to go into the last end 18-15 down . A loose opening from both Ron and John left about a yard of space and Angie bowled 2 terrific bowls to be holding 2 closely grouped shots until Jeff with his 3rd bowl managed to rest them to be holding a good 2nd bowl but Angie’s final bowl moved the jack a few inches and left them holding possible 3. Not to be outdone Ron’s first bowl nudged Jeff’s bowl just enough to ensure it was 3rd and with John unable to change the head Ron didn’t bowl his final bowl and happily accepted a 2 shot deficit to win the match 18-17.
The Final was another wonderful game of bowls, with everything you could ask for. Four bowlers on the top of their game, challenging conditions as the green characteristics changed throughout the game in the overcast conditions and a close encounter with a nail-biting finish.
The format saw Ron v Simone and Jeff v Mary and this proved an interesting tactical match-up as the wide-swinging bowls of Ron and Simone were counterpointed by the narrower line of the Vector VS bowls that both Jeff and Mary were using.
The difference in the bowls was to be noticeable as the wider swinging bowls had to contend with a “straightener” on both hands while the narrower bowls took almost yard less green.
Nevertheless Ron found the wider swing well during the first half of the game, especially going away from the Club house, complimenting the excellent bowling of Jeff to take a 10-3 lead after 8 ends
The format meant that Jeff and Mary were “lead” bowlers going away from the Club house and were both finding the line and length from the first end. This of course meant Ron and Simone had “lead” going back to the Club house and Ron in particular struggled to find good bowls with his first two bowls, hitting the straightener or cutting right across the green if he tried to come inside it. Fortunately Simone was finding similar problems in the first few ends, so was also leaving plenty of room for their team mates to exploit.
It was Simone who began to find her line, switching hands to take advantage of a subtle change in the green as the wider line was no longer releasing the bowls - causing them to “hang”- and combined with Mary to win the next 6 ends, picking up 10 shots in the process to lead 13-10 after 14 ends.
On the 15th end, Ron and Jeff were 2 down, Ron had the 4 bowls and with his first bowl removed the shot . Simone trailed the jack to one of Mary’s back bowls, Ron played a running wood and took both out leaving him with shot. 13-11
On the 16th end Ron for once had a decent opening bowl, Jeff added two more, Mary was just overweight and unusually Simone was unable to find a bowl to cut it down. Jeff and Ron picked up a 3 to take the lead once again. 14-13
The 17th end was a packed, tight head with the shot changing a few times but Jeff was able to draw through the narrowest of gaps and turn his own bowl over to take shot. A crucial 15-13 lead going into the last end.
Jeff again did the damage taking advantage of the 4 bowls to draw two a foot behind the jack, only for Mary to rest against the nearest bowl and drop in for shot. Ron drew a bowl just a few inches behind as he tried to make it difficult for Simone to add a second and her first bowl went agonisingly tight across the head. Ron drew almost exactly the same bowl, touched the shot bowl but it was locked into place by the bowl behind and didn’t move. This left Simone with another difficult draw with her last bowl, on a hand she hadn’t selected to play very often in the match and once again it drifted agonisingly narrow, much to the relief of Ron and Jeff. Winning score: 15-14