That proved to be exactly the case on Tuesday (Mar 10). Not only would it be a test of skill and stamina but with such a large field and an initial set of “scroungers rounds” necessary to trim the field it was likely there would be some “favourites” (favourites on paper and in their own opinion!) who would be early casualties.
Somewhat predictably that proved to be the case but progressing through to the quarter-finals were George, Ue, Stroud, Ron, Pat, Peter, Glen and Rupert. No female representation in the quarters was somewhat of a surprise and four former winners of “majors” were also eliminated in the scrounger section.
Five of the quarter-finalists had never won a major before so the smart money was on either last year’s champ Peter Kuschel possibly going for a repeat victory, or serial finalist George Sasonov to emerge victorious.
As is possible with any cup/knockout competition, the shocks continued as the “rookie element” in the competition surprised their more experienced opponents and the semi-final line up was Swede Ulf “Ue” Egerstaad versus Canadian Ron Blackwood. The other semi was an all Australian affair as Stroud Dale faced off against Rupert Maunder.
Only Ue had tasted victory in a “major” before, albeit several years ago, whilst, if any of the other three could get their hands on the trophy, we would have a new name to add to the Honours list.
In the first semi, Ron took an early lead but Ue fought back and prevailed 9-7.
Rupert and Stroud had an epic “ding dong” battle that was only decided by the latter after a sudden death end following the match being level 8-8 after normal play.
So the stage was set for a close encounter and, even though many ends were decided by the tightest of margins, Ue held a 4 shot lead heading into the final end, despite Stroud valiantly attempting to pull things back.
Ue, however, had learnt from his previous disappointments where he had let winning positions slip, this time protecting his lead by allowing Stroud two shots but making sure there was no chance of his opponent claiming the maximum score of 4 that he needed to tie the game and force another sudden death end.
Ultimately Ue prevailed by a score of 8-6 to return to the winner’s circle after an absence of a few years, meaning the club still awaits a breakthrough win from other contenders. With three new players in this year’s semi-finals, however, it will surely only be a matter of time before they do.
Congratulations to Ue!
Elsewhere, in the plate final for first round losers, Judy Maunder produced, in her words, “the game of her life” in a match of an extremely high standard worthy of the grand final itself to deservedly beat Rob Knight 8-5 and lift the plate.
The next “major” is a triples competition on March 24.
Kamala Lawn Bowls is Open 6 days a week and all equipment is provided. Beginners afternoon is Wednesdays at 2:45pm and all are welcome.
For further details contact the club on 0948987476.