Historic 2023 Open Gender Pennants Underway

In a historic move the first round of the first ever Open Gender Pennant for NSW Bowls was played on February 11 2023. NSW has been some years behind the other States in making the move to Open Gender events. The amalgamation of the two State bodies – Royal NSW Bowls and Women’s Bowls NSW – made the introduction of the open gender event inevitable.

Tuross has entered two sides in the 2023 competition – Grade 5 and Grade 7. Both sides have representatives from both genders. The Grade 5 side is in a very strong competition with Narooma and Bodalla entering strong sides in the grade after several seasons playing in Grade 4. Tuross was tested in the first round when they hosted Narooma.

A very strong performance from the team of Chris Coddington, Rose Farrington, Marcel Kors and Bruce Lidbury led the way for Tuross. They had the upper hand right from the start of their match. By the 11th end they had set up strong 18 – 3 lead. Narooma fought back in the second half of the game but their comeback was stalled when they dropped 4 shots on the 17th end. Tuross won the game 26 – 14.

Doreen Monks, Noel Downie, Irene Macdonald and John Monks had a come from behind victory in their game. Narooma dominated the early ends and had a comfortable 11 – 3 advantage after 9 ends. However, two ends proved the difference. Tuross grabbed the lead for the first time when they scored 5 shots on the 16th end to move to 16 -14 in front. Narooma steadied and by the 19th end the scores were locked at 17 all. Then another 5 shots on the second last end gave Tuross a 22 – 17 lead. Narooma won the last end but only scored 2 shots giving Tuross a 22 – 19 victory.

On the third rink Margaret Downey, Geoff Lee, Peter Macdonald and Denise Lidbury had a very tight tussle with their Narooma opponents. After 10 very close ends the score was locked at 6 all. The lead fluctuated as the teams battled for the win. Narooma was able to score 3 shots on each of the 17th and 18th ends to create the biggest lead of the game at 19 – 14. While Tuross won the last three ends they could only manage one shot on each giving Narooma a close 19 – 17 win.

In the end Tuross won overall 9 – 1. They were awarded 7 points for winning the aggregate score 65 – 52 and 2 points for winning two of the three rinks.

The Grade 7 side travelled to Bermagui to play the locals for the first time in several seasons. With a small membership Bermagui only fields the one side but in that side they have some very strong players including one former Australian Singles Champion!! The match turned out to be very exciting with the final result not determined to the final bowl was played on the last of the 63 ends played.

The team of Michael Challice, Carol Williams, Doug Williams and Ray Downey gave their side every chance of a win with a very strong performance. The dominated their game from the outset racing to a 12 – 3 lead after 7 ends. By the 13th end they were in front 16 – 7. They won 7 of the last 8 ends to record a 26 – 8 win.
Des Jackson, Mick Atkinson, Col Fletcher and Allan Etheredge had their chances in a very exciting game where Bermagui’s Rom McGlashan proved an obstacle. After 10 ends the sides were locked at 11 all. Bermagui moved ahead with 6 shots on the next two ends and despite the best efforts of the Tuross players they could not bridge the gap. Bermagui triumphed 24 – 17.

Ray Brown, Bill Burch, Di Challice and Lorraine Bird found the unfamiliar synthetic green and tricky wind a real challenge in their clash. They also found the Bermagui skip – John Lazzaro – quite formidable. Bermagui had the better of play for much of the game but their scoring was restricted by some good defensive bowls from the Tuross players. With a couple of ‘dead ends’ this rink was last to finish with the score in Bermagui’s favour 20 – 8 after 19 ends.

However the aggregate score for the three rinks was Bermagui 52 to Tuross 51. With all of the players on the two completed ends watching the last two ends were exciting. With her last bowl on the 20th end Bird was able to grab the shot that meant the aggregate was now 52 all. Tuross had their chance on the last end but the Bermagui players held their nerve to score a game winning shot.

Bermagui won the rink 21 – 9 and key aggregate 53 – 52. This gave them an overall win of 9 – 1. They score 7 points for winning the aggregate and another two for winning two rinks. The unlucky Tuross players had to be content with 1 point.

Next week the Grade 5 travel to Moruya while the Grade 7 are home to Malua Bay.

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