THE bell was tolling at South Tamworth Bowling Club, but not for the home side in their State Grade 5 Pennants Final against Narrandera Redbacks.
It was tolling a wedding march for Narrandera and one of the Redback bachelors – Richard Durnan.
He had announced to his lawn bowling clubmates before the weekend’s State Pennants Finals at the South and West Tamworth clubs, he’d marry his sweetheart, Maree Tuckett if the Redbacks won.
“Richard said he’d marry her if we won the flag,” confirmed Redbacks team manager Kevin English.
“He made the big announcement. He’ll have 14 best men if he does.”
Durnan wasn’t saying too much other than offering a sheepish grin when his team-mates and supporters started the “here comes the bride” chant during the official presentations.
It was a light-hearted moment for a team that travelled about nine hours by coach to play at Tamworth, then won its way into the No. 5 Playoff Final before beating the home club South Tamworth 63-45 on their own rinks.
Both Narrandera and South were vying for their second state flags.
South had won the State No. 2s back in 1999 while Narrandera had won the No 3s at Taree in 2000.
The visitors were always in control and led by 10 shots after 46 ends before South made a run and got to within four shots.
The Redbacks had edged out to another 10 shot lead by the 55th end and when two of their fours “dropped five shot” results they had suddenly taken an unbeatable 61-42 lead.
“Dropping those two five-shot at a vital stage was where we won it,” Kevin English said.
Tamworth manager Chris Herden agreed.
“They got 13 shots in three ends,” Herden said.
“That’s what killed us.
“It’s been a good weekend though.
“The boys were happy to get this far. You’ve got to be happy to make a state final anytime.”
Royal NSW Bowling Association vice president Lyle Keats has been to many state pennants playoffs and reckoned he had not seen any better organised tournament.
He thought the two Tamworth clubs, South and West, put together a brilliant weekend.
“Congratulations to both sides too,” he said.
“It was a very good game of quality bowls and played in great spirit.”
The Steve Graham-skipped four won its clash 17-15 but the Greg Harris-skipped and Owen Walker-skipped 4s lost 26-17 and 22-11 respectively.