Warilla turned the tables on defending champions Cabramatta to claim a $16,000 payday and victory in their own Warilla Gorillas 4-A-Side Challenge.
Cabramatta pipped the Gorillas for the $4000 minor premiers cheque with a gripping final preliminary round victory on the outdoor green, but Warilla charged home in the two 15-end Pairs final held indoors to collect the $16,000 winner’s purse.
The $44,000 four-day tournament featured 26 top-class teams from across NSW, plus Broadbeach and Pine Rivers from Queensland and top Victorian club Moama.
Some of bowls biggest names including international stars Ryan Bester, Kevin Anderson, Alex Marshall, Aaron Wilson, Neil Burkett, Ben and Steve Glasson, Adam Jeffery, Corey Wedlock and Cameron Curtis locked horns in one of the most lucrative events held in the Illawarra.
Jeremy Henry and Alex Marshall (skip) formed one rink for Warilla with young guns Jesse Noronha and Aaron Teys (skip) playing together, with the format of a pennants scoring system over 14 preliminary rounds before the top four advanced to the semi-finals.
Dapto Citizens, Towradgi, Wiseman Park and Kiama joined host Warilla as the local contingent and Wiseman Park scraped into fourth spot with a final round win, after Broadbeach blew their top four hopes with losses in their final two games.
Wiseman Park lost to the Bull Ants in one semi-final, while Warilla gunned down the Bowls Australia’s National Training Centre side in the other semi. NTC were the only non-club side in the draw as a late replacement for St Johns Park.
The Cabramatta rinks of Billy Johnson-Carl Healey (skip) and Ray Pearse-Aaron Wilson (skip) took the $4000 minor premiers prize from Warilla by beating them in the very last round in wild, windy conditions and held a nine-shot lead just past the halfway mark in the final before the home side charged home.
With around 200 fans watching rink-side, all four Warilla bowlers lifted in the final few ends with Warilla winning 33-26 to claim the trophy.While Ray Pearse was the difference in the final round, Teys was particularly damaging in the decider, while Scottish superstar Marshall lifted when the pressure was applied.
Cabramatta went home with the runners-up cheque of $10,000, plus $4000 as minor premiers, while Wiseman Park and NTC collected $5000 for equal third. Broadbeach was fifth and earned $2500, with Mt Lewis sixth ($1500).
Warilla – Alex Marshall, Jeremy Henry,
Aaron Teys & Jesse Noronha
Cabramatta – Aaron WIlson, Bill Johnson,
Carl Healey & Ray Pearse