2019 Senior Inter-Zone Sides Championship
Winners – Sydney Northern, Zone 9
2019 Senior Inter-Zone Sides Championship
Runners Up – Newcastle, Zone 2
Sydney Northern has won the 2019 Senior Inter-Zone Sides Championships defeating Newcastle 53-51 in the final
Zone 9 have outlasted Zone 2 in an epic final held at Charlestown Bowling Club to be crowned 2019 Senior Inter-Zone Champions. This is the first ever win for the proud Sydney Northern Zone who have previously been semi-finalists on two occasions and were runners-up back in 2013. For two-time winners Zone 2, this was incredibly the sixth final they have reached in the competition since its inception in 2007.
The day began with two semi-final matches – Zone 9 vs Zone 16 and Zone 11 vs Zone 2. Interestingly, one semi-final featured two section winners (Zone 9 and Zone 16) while the other semi-final featured the two runners-up from the exact same sections (Zone 11 and Zone 16). From juniors through to open and senior sides, Zone 16 have always been considered a powerhouse zone and with players such as Geoff McGillivray, Brian Harriott and Mal Pearson all featured in the side, it is easy to understand how they have earned such a tagline. Yet, despite the plethora of talent in their side it was Zone 9 who took control of the match early and worked their way towards three solid rink wins and a 74-49 masterboard victory. The Terry Warder skipped rink proved too strong for Brian Harriott winning 28-17 while Crawford Linton’s rink recorded their own 11-shot victory over Rick Malley 27-16.
The second semi-final was a similar affair in terms of the overall score with Zone 2 winning over Zone 11, 67-44. Such a score would usually indicate solid victories across all rinks, however this wasn’t the case in this match. Newcastle’s Mick Beesley recorded a single-shot victory over Manning’s Rex Johnston while Eric Ryan’s rink earned a hard-fought draw with Steve Harris 16-16. The bulk of the damage was done by Kim Jaques and his rink who recorded a convincing 32-10 victory to take control of the masterboard. The 22 shot margin was more than enough to see Newcastle through to the final where they faced Sydney Northern.
The final was a see-sawing affair from the start with the lead being exchanged multiple times. As the match entered its latter stages, Kim Jaques’ rink continued their stunning form from the morning’s semi-final to lead Zone 9’s Terry Warder while Crawford Linton held a similar margin over Newcastle’s Mick Beesley. The final rink between Sydney Northern’s Steve Clark and Eric Ryan was tight from start to finish, with neither side holding more than a couple of shots advantage over the other.
A pivotal moment in the game came when Terry Warder’s rink crossed over holding a solid count. Jaques’ first bowl was ineffective and Warder attempted to capitalise by drawing another shot with his first bowl. Unfortunately for Warder, while the bowl did add to the count, it opened the head to provide Jaques an opportunity to minimise the damage. The shot was by no means easy, and being under such pressure only makes it more difficult to execute, but none of this seemed to matter to Jaques who played his bowl to perfection to land one of the Zone 9 bowls with just the right angle to sit in for shot. Now the pressure was on Warder who had only the slimmest of openings to try to get to the shot bowl and turn it out of the head. After considerable time analysing the head and discussing with third John Venteman on what shot to play, Warder elected to play swinging weight on his backhand to allow himself the chance to get the shot bowl clean out of the head. His final bowl did just that, and with perfect line and weight Warder was able to sit the bowl out and claim a 6 for Zone 9. Despite eventually losing his rink 21-14, Warder’s shot undoubtedly went a long way to helping Zone 9 claim victory.
The bulk of Zone 9’s scoring came from Crawford Linton’s rink, who recorded a strong 24-15 victory over Mick Beesley. Steve Clark’s 15-15 draw with Eric Ryan meant that Zone 9 were able to hold off a valiant Zone 2, 53-51 after 63 ends of play. The Newcastle side should be commended for their performance over the three days, and so too their supporters, who were in full voice for the final. But there can only be one winner and that title deservedly goes to Zone 9, who proved this week to be the best zone in the state.
Particular credit must go to the rink of Wilson Cheng, Ral Lewis/Michael Sparozvich, Tony Taylor and Crawford Linton who were unbeaten across all six of their games, amassing a margin of 57 shots along the way.
By Billy Johnson
For full scores & details visit the event page (CLICK HERE)