Mark Alexander, Sunday, 29 September 2019

The Belrose Bulls side - Joe Saragozza, John Venteman, Crawford Linton & Tony Taylor - fell agonisingly just short of a place in the Senior Fours Final at the NSW State Championships after suffering a heart-breaking one shot loss 20/21 in this morning's semi-final against Bathurst City (Z4), a match ultimately decided by the last bowl of the final end of the match.

Neither side could string too many consecutive ends together as the lead swapped back and forth throughout and the scores were often tied; 8/8 after 8 ends, 11/11 after 11 ends and then, perhaps fittingly for such a tight contest, 20/20 after 20 ends.  With one bowl to play on the final end, Belrose held game with a bowl on the jack, at which point the Bathurst City skip played weight with his last bowl and disturbed the head and the result was one down for the Bulls.

The loss must have been shattering but this outstanding quartet can look back on a terrific season, one that for three of the side - John, Crawford and Tony - also included success in being part of the Zone 9 side that won the NSW Senior Inter-zone and reaching the quarter-finals of the State Grade 1 Pennant Finals.

In an interesting twist the eventual winner of the NSW Senior Fours was a local team from Ettalong skipped by former North Sydney and Belrose player, Phil Westcott, a well-known identity on the bowls tournament circuit.

Today's loss by the Bulls not only brought the curtain down on the Zone 9 participation at the State Championships but also brought to a close the illustrious term of Crawford Linton as a Belrose Bulls and Zone 9 player.  Apart from a few years in the early 2000s at Harbord, Crawford has spent all his bowls life, and most of his social life (!!!), at Belrose and has firmly established himself as perhaps the greatest bowler our Zone has seen.  Multiple Club, Zone and State titles plus State selection are testament to both his bowls ability and his absolute determination to win.

Craw, we wish you all the best!!  Life will be much quieter for Joey!!