Sectional play of the Men’s Singles Championship commenced on Sunday 19th February with section winners progressing to the second round on Sunday 26th February. Round two games were split over an alignment round in the morning with five games played – M.Hulbert v K. Coffey, B.Fleiser v R. Tozer, P. Appleton v B. Jeffs, D. Dunstan v R .Cunningham and P.Knight v R. Butler with the quarter finals in the afternoon.
All games were played on ‘B’ green in almost perfect conditions with weather and green being ideal, although it did get a little hot in the afternoon. The alignment rounds ended with Paul Knight & Rhett Butler fighting out a very high quality tight game, resulting in a narrow win to Rhett. All other games ended in clear wins to Murray Hulbert, Barney Fleiser, Bob Jeffs and Ross Cunningham.
After a quick lunch break, the quarter finals games were played between Rhett Butler v Murray Hulbert, Ross Cunningham v Bob Jeffs, Jeff Thomson v Andy Elmer and Barney Fleiser v John Sturk. Again Rhett was involved in a very tight game with Murray but finally prevailed to win 25 to 24. Another great game for the spectators to cheer on. Barney and John also had a tight tussle after Barney had snatched a good lead but John fought back well, including saving a match ending score by sending the jack into the ditch. Unfortunately he couldn’t overcome the big lead and went down 25-19. The other two games went to Ross and Andy with some good bowls being played by all participants. Thanks to Peter Flack for jumping in at short notice to mark one of the quarter-final games.
The semi-finals of the Men’s Singles Championship were held on A Green on Sunday 12th March, in perfect weather conditions. In a departure from recent years, the finals were played alongside the Women’s singles finals in order to increase spectator appeal, and some 40-50 people turned up to watch, providing a good atmosphere for the games.
The semi-final between Barney Fleiser and Andy Elmer saw Barney ease out to an early 8-2 lead with some nice draw bowling, before Andy found his line and length to draw level near the half-way mark. The 14th end was the key turning point, when an errant last bowl drive from Barney removed his only bowl from the head leaving Andy to score four. This was quickly followed by a three, and thereafter Andy pulled steadily and confidently away to a 25-11 win.
The second semi followed a strangely similar course, with Rhett Butler establishing a 10-4 lead after 10 ends, before Ross Cunningham started to make inroads with some impressive draw and on-shot bowls. Again the turning point was a quick run by Ross of 3, 4, 4 in what were actually very tight ends to give him a 9-shot lead, and, while Rhett continued to bowl well and peg back the lead, it proved too large with Ross winning 25-20.
The final between Ross and Andy followed a similar course with scores level after 10 ends. Thereafter Andy continued to draw well, particularly when bowling towards the clubhouse end, but Ross produced the key bowl or bowls to pull steadily away to run out the deserved winner at 25-12.
The Match Committee congratulates not only the finalists, but all entries for the sporting conduct displayed in this pinnacle club event. Congratulations too, to the greenkeeper for the quality of the greens provided at the end of a busy summer and the extra traffic from Men’s Country Week – they were a pleasure to play on. Finally, the concept of combining the Men’s and Women’s events proved successful, and we will look to combine club championship finals where possible next season.