IT BECAME a classic North-South battle in the Central North District Bowls Association’s State Fours at Willow Tree Bowling Club yesterday.
16 teams had entered the State Fours, which was also the first event in the CNDBA’s rejuvenated Bowler of the Year Award, and one team from South Tamworth Bowling Club and one from North Tamworth Bowling Club fought it out.
The South Tamworth four of Dylan Eather (lead), Paul Whitton (second), Scott Thorning (third) and Nathan Wise (skip) were down 19-18 approaching the 20th of 21 ends but snared a two to take a one-shot lead entering the final end over the North Tamworth four which had Richard Russell as its lead, followed by Peter Kachel, Chris Cameron and skip Luke Russell.
The North Tamworth four responded with a shot to even it all up at 20-all and take the game into extra ends but in a fluctuating finish it was the “Gunnedah connection” that prevailed 23-20.
Until recently the Wise- skipped side had played out of the Gunnedah Services Bowling Club but has since switched to South Tamworth.
Willow Tree Bowling Club president Erle Stockdale said it was a thrilling finish to a good weekend.
“It was one helluva game, a great game,” Stockdale said.
“A fantastic way to finish a big weekend for us.”
Wise’s team had won its final berth with a 26-15 win over a fellow South Tamworth team skipped by Chris Herden.
The Luke Russell-skipped North Tamworth four had won its semi-final when it beat a fellow North Tamworth team skipped by Graeme Cameron, 22-17, in the morning semi.
Tamworth City’s Ian Bannister thought the Bowler of the Year Award had helped swell the numbers and interest in the CNDBA State Fours.
“It’s the most we’ve ever had,” Bannister said of the team nominations which had forced some games to be played at Quirindi Bowling Club on Saturday.
“It’s built up a bit because of the Bowler of the Year.”
“We’ve got 23 teams for the CNDBA Triples too at Werris Creek,”Stockdale said.
The triples, like the fours, is a Bowler of the Year event where bowlers can gain points in the competition designed to help ensure clubs have full fields for major events.
Kootingal’s Garry Harriott was going home early Saturday after his four had been knocked out in the morning round at Willow Tree.
“Normally we’ve got three or four teams playing in this but we’ve had a lot of pull- outs.”
The weekend’s State Fours was the start of a busy few weeks for the Willow Tree club.
“We’ve got Dora Creek coming up next week,”Stockdale said.
“Then we’ve got the Central North versus Upper Hunter game in a fortnight and after that we’ve got our own Open Fours on February 17.
“That’s a Bowler of the Year Award event too.”