Alan McLeod and John Wagstaff are the new Major Pairs Champions of Tuross Head Men’s Bowling Club after clinching victory in the final of the 2023/24 Championship played on Saturday June 17.  Entries in this event were disappointing with several players unavailable.  Despite this some excellent matches were played.

Alan McLeod and John Wagstaff – Major Pairs Champions

Mcleod and Wagstaff played Michael Challice and Ray Downey in the only quarter final required and managed to secure a narrow victory.  Fortunes fluctuated in this game with Wagstaff leading 11 – 5 before the scores were 14 all after 12 ends.  Downey then moved to a lead of 21 – 14 after 15 ends.  The game was decided in the next four ends when Wagstaff and Mcleod raised the pressure to take a 27 – 21 advantage after 19 ends.  Challice and Downey managed to win the last two ends but they could not score enough shots to bridge the gap. McLeod and Wagstaff won 27 – 25.

The semi-finals were played on Tuesday June 13.  Both games proved to be exciting matches.  Past Champions Noel Downie and John Monks played two new bowlers in Mark Velder and Bill Burch.  This was a close game from the outset with the experienced Downie and Monks being matched by their opponents.  Monks had the advantage after 9 ends leading 12 – 5 but by the 12th end Burch reduced the margin to 13 – 11.  Monks won the next two very close ends to move to 15 – 11.

Giant Killers – Bill Burch and Mark Velder

Velder and Burch then played some excellent bowls winning the next five ends and scoring 12 shots to set up the scene for a major upset at 23 – 15!  Downie and Monks fought back over the last two ends picking up 2 shots on the 20th end and then 5 shots on the last end to fall just short at 22 – 23.  The last end was played in failing light and light rain.  A measure was required to determine the 6th shot but Burch was just in to claim the victory.

In the other semi final McLeod and Wagstaff played Geoff Lee and Doug Williams.  After starting slowly Lee and Williams took the lead 8 – 5 after 6 ends with two lots of 4 shots on the 5th and 6th end.  The game then settled into a very tight tussle with Lee playing particularly well.  Wagstaff was forced to play some great saving bowls to keep his side in the contest.  After 15 ends the two sides were locked on 14 all.

Wagstaff had the better of the next 3 ends and moved to a 22 – 14 advantage.  During the 19th end rain started to fall as Williams reduced the margin to 22 – 15.  Play was then suspended for the day.  The players returned on Wednesday to complete the final two ends.  On the 20th end Wagstaff looked to have sealed the win before Williams played a great bowl that saw his side pickup 2 shots and  remain a chance at 22 – 15.

The last end was very close.  McLeod had the shot just holding out Lee who was close with his 4 bowls.  The match went right down to the last bowl.  Williams needed a gentle touch on the jack but he just could not pull it off.  McLeod and Wagstaff moved into the final with a 23 – 17 victory.

Unfortunately, Velder and Burch could not repeat their giant killing semi-final effort in the final despite their best efforts.  On the day McLeod and Wagstaff proved too good.  Wagstaff, in particular, was in great touch reviving memories of his glory days at the Club.  He bowled exceptionally well and dominated the game.  McLeod again displayed his excellent draw bowls and put pressure on Velder and Burch on most ends.  Congratulations to the winners and runners up!!