Irene Macdonald has become the first lady to take the Barry Sloane Memorial Lightning Singles Challenge with an outstanding display of singles play in the very challenging shortened format. In fact, ladies dominated the 2023 competition with Rose Farrington a very worthy runner up. Ladies provided 3 of the 4 semi-finalists at the time when Open Gender bowls is being adopted by Bowls NSW which augurs well for the Club in State events.
2023 Lightning Singles Champion – Irene Macdonald
The 8 qualifiers for the knockout stage of the event found they had to playing in challenging hot and windy conditions. The draw was determined by a random draw with some interesting match ups. Irene and Peter Macdonald drew one another in one quarter final! Their first set of 5 ends was very tight ending in a 3 all draw. Irene hit her straps in the second set and won 7 – 2 to give her the overall win.
Rose Farrington drew Denise Lidbury in what proved to be an excellent game. Lidbury started well but Farrington managed to recover to win the first set 4 – 3. The second set saw Farrington win the first end only to see Lidbury win the next three ends to win 6 – 3. This forced the match into a tie breaker that Farrington won by a single shot to move into the semi-finals.
Lorraine Bird proved too good for Ray Downey in their clash. Both players stared nervously with first Downey conceding 4 shots and then Bird following suit. Downey managed to take the next end before Bird dominated the rest of the game to win straight sets. Chris Coddington continued his run as the ‘dark horse’ in the event with a convincing straight sets win over Warren Hodder.
The semi-final clash between Coddington and Farrington was one of the games of the tournament. Coddington dominated the first set with great draw bowling. However, the tenacious Farrington fought back to win the second set. The tie breaker was very close. Coddington managed to grab the shot but with her last bowl Farrington was able to play an outstanding bowl to take the game!
2023 Lightning Singles Runner up – Rose Farrington
Macdonald played Lorraine Bird in the other semi-final. Macdonald had the better of a close first set winning 5 – 1. Unfortunately, Bird suffered from the heat and conceded the second set when she was down 7 – 0 and with no real prospect of recovering.
This set up a great battle between two great bowling ‘buddies’! It proved to be a very fitting final. Macdonald won the first set 6 – 3 on the back of grabbing all 4 shots on the second end. Farrington fought back strongly in the second set. She was able to force the game into a tie breaker with a 6 – 4 win. Farrington bowled first and drew very close to the jack. Macdonald then played the shot of the game drawing even closer to the jack than Farrington. With her subsequent bowls Farrington was unable to promote her bowl or move Macdonald’s despite how close she went. Macdonald prevailed and became a very fitting Champion. Congratulations to both players!!