Zone 9 - Sydney Northern District Bowls
THE FOURTH BOWL PROVED A GAME CHANGER IN THE OPEN SINGLE'S FINAL
ZONE 2019 SINGLE'S FINALISTS: STEVE SMITH and PAUL LECKEY (WINNER)
SUNDAY'S DIABOLICAL WEATHER
FORECAST PROVED TO BE A
BLESSING IN DISGUISE
A cold and blustery south-westerly wind may have been far from ideal for zone single's play offs, however it proved to be far better than the predicted forecast.
Had the promise of continuous rain come to fruition, a postponement was inevitable, and a created a double problem, particularly as the zone pair's is scheduled for this weekend.
Occasionally the intensity and close scores in semi finals are deserved of the final.
Although not so on Sunday, as the all day spectators who braved the arctic-like conditions were rewarded with an exciting double.
As two of the semi finalists are "men of the turf" . . . one could be described one as the "smokey" in the field.
The name Chris Bailey wasn't a name on most bowling lips, although all that changed throughout the rounds that led to the Open Single's semis.
More particularly his winning trifecta included three past winners.
While both Chris and his opponent Steve Smith are both grade one Harbord pennant mates, neither could have envisaged they were looking down the barrel of a 40-end marathon semi final.
Basically the game comprised of a tit for tat one or two shot affair until until the 33rd end where Steve was on the springboard at 28-24.
While Steve agonised on 30 for four ends, Chris had clawed his way up to equalise, then normal breathing resumed for Steve when fell over the line.
MARKER: BOB ABDALLAH UMPIRE: STEVE GIBSON
THE FINAL . . . THE DREADED FOURTH BOWL
This all Harbord final was unique as Paul Leckey is a Harbord grade one pennant skip, so it had all the ingredients of a close encounter.
Unlike Steve's marathon semi, Paul had time to spare after his win over James Brown (Belrose), and led early in the final, however he dropped four and nullified the advantage.
The varied playing lengths early on were dispensed with as both players settled for longer ends.
There was never much in the scores, although the scoring pattern was interesting.
When a player had the mat, he would retain it for possibly three or four ends, then his opponent would repeat the exercise.
Due to the gusting wind, either player could hold a multiple, then agonise as the opposition's fourth bowl would finish millimetres from the jack.
In these situations Paul's ability and concentration frequently produced devastating turn arounds.
With Steve ahead 28-27 and the game well and truly in the balance, Paul produced a two, followed by two singles.
Taking both games and the playing conditions into consideration this year's final would rate as one of the best.
FINAL SCORE: Paul Leckey 31 def. Steve Smith 28
MARKER: TERRY WARDER. UMPIRE: STEVE GIBSON