Mark Alexander, Thursday, 16 May 2019

At the completion of an enthralling three days of intense and frequently nerve-wracking competition, our Zone 9 Senior Side has claimed the title and trophy having won the 2019 BNSW Seniors Inter-zone Sides Championship by the narrowest of margins at Charlestown BC.

Despite dropping one match, the "Niners" completed the preliminary rounds on top of their section and then won their quarter-final against Zone 5 on Wednesday afternoon.

Today's play began with a semi-final against the talented and previously undefeated Zone 16 (Illawarra).  The match began with both Zones sizing each other up before Zone 9 took a decisive break 31-19 on the back of a massive score of 7 shots on one end by Terry Warder's rink.  Zone 16 inched their way back, closing the margin to just 3 shots, 38-35 after 35 ends.  However, from there on it became a procession as Zone 9 won end after end to run out convincing winners, 74-49, winning on all 3 rinks.

And so to the Final which pitted Zone 9 against the hosts, Zone 2 (Newcastle), who had earlier won their semi-final over Zone 11 (Manning) in equally convincing fashion.

Both Zones traded shots for the opening dozen or so ends before Zone 2 surged ahead to lead 29-17 after 31 ends.  From there Zone 9 staged a terrific fight-back to trail 28-33 after 38 ends, then take the lead 36-34 after 43 ends and then 40-38 at 50 ends.  Zone 2 found some reserves and fought back to lead 48-45 with only a few ends remaining at which point Terry Warder played a shot he may well remember forever as he played through Zone 2's shot bowl and remained in the head to score 6 shots, taking Zone 9 out to a 51-48 lead at 59 ends.  A shot or two either way and playing the last end, Zone 9 lead 52-51 but then faced a situation where Steve Clark had to play his last bowl of the match to a head where he was 3 down and everything on the line.  The ever cool and reliable Chookie played a magnificent weighted shot that split the shot bowls and dragged the jack back to a waiting Zone 9 bowl.  The Zone 2 skip was unable to draw the shot and Zone 9 were deservedly awarded the Seniors Inter-zone Trophy following their 2 shot victory, 53-51.

Congratulations to all 14 players (incl. 2 reserves) in the Zone 9 Senior Side and to the Selectors, lead by Chairman Steve Gliddon, who handled with aplomb the difficult task of working their way through many triallists before eventually arriving at the winning combination.

Special mention to the rink of Wilson Cheng, Ral Lewis/Michael Sparozvich, Tony Taylor & Crawford Linton who went through the 3 days of play undefeated, an outstanding achievement over the 6 matches.

In a unique achievement, both Crawford Linton and Steve Clark have now won State Inter-zone titles at both Open and Senior level.