Forget the Commonwealth Games and the Premier League, our very own Mens Pairs' semi-finals had it all! Peter Tonoli & Joe Shofer versus Noel McKenzie (subbing for Geoff Rose) & Graham Hancock and Steven Goddard & Jock Currie versus Tim Walton & Peter Larcombe set the scene on paper for two great games. And no-one was disappointed!
In the first matchup, Joe Shofer hopped off his Japanese flight on Saturday morning, put the sushi out of his mind and arrived at the club ready and raring to go. At age 63 (you did tell me 63 didn't you Joe?) that ain't too bad, is it? Unfortunately he and Peter Tonoli walked into an early red hot Noel McKenzie and Graham Hancock and, faster than the Qantas bag collection, Pete & Joe found themselves down 13-3 after the 11th and 15-6 following the 14th. The game was near gone but, as many games come and go, we all know that you can't count your chickens too soon. It was at this stage of the game that we saw a dramatic change of fortune as Peter & Joe picked up 9 shots in four ends and suddenly with 3 ends remaining it was all square, 15-all in a very competitive match. It was now down to the "championship" ends and a 1 and a 3 on the 19th and 20th permitted Noel & Graham to skip away to a 19-15 lead with one to play. Consolidating this lead was achieved and a 1 on the last to Pete and Joe meant that Noel & Graham had won a tight match 19-16 and that Graham Hancock and Geoff Rose are now through to the final.
The second semi was a fabulous but strange game - Steven Goddard & Jock Currie up against Tim Walton & Peter Larcombe. At no stage were Steve and Jock ahead in the match. Down 8-0 after 4 ends and 12-6 following the 10th, they hung in there when at times Tim & Peter threatened to get away to a big lead. They had bowls in the head on most occasions only to watch a Goddard or Currie bowl slip in to maintain touch. In the eight ends from the 11th to the 18th end Steve & Jock picked up 7 shots to 2 and the score had narrowed to the single shot ...... 14-13 to Tim & Peter. Once again we were down to where it matters and 1 and 2 shots on the 19th and 20th respectively meant that Steven & Jock, like the first semi, needed a 4 on the last to draw and a 5 to win. Impossible "they" said! It was all but over! But someone forgot to tell Steven & Jock, and when the jack was moved towards the boundary pegs, they were suddenly holding 3. A further one with a planned forward push by Jock meant that they had achieved the impossible 4 and now drew level at 17 all at the end of the 21st. Off to the 22nd where Tim drew two, Steve countered with a gorgeous draw about one and a half bowls from the jack and with Peter's second last bowl somehow he drew shot. And at 5:15pm, looking through the darkness from the club, after four and three quarter hours' play, we believe that is where it stayed - game to Tim Waton & Peter Larcombe 18-17.
The final will therefore be played between Graham Hancock & Geoff Rose and Tim Walton & Peter Larcombe on a date as yet to be set. In view of the pennant season start next Saturday it may well be played on a Wednesday but as soon as I am advised by the Bowls Secretary I will publish it accordingly.
Well done to all eight players for such a spectacle in the semis and good luck to our finalists.