Woonona duo clinch senior pairs crown

TOP EFFORT: Senior pairs finalists Paul Robertson and Rob Smith with new champions John Ritchie and Jack Forbes. Picture: MIKE DRISCOLL
TOP EFFORT: Senior pairs finalists Paul Robertson and Rob Smith with new champions John Ritchie and Jack Forbes. Picture: MIKE DRISCOLL

John Ritchie and Jack Forbes claimed their first Zone 16 Senior title and delivered Woonona BC its maiden senior crown with victory in the Illawarra Senior Pairs at Fairy Meadow Bowling Club.

The pair won five matches over three playing days and sealed the title with a 20-10 victory over Wiseman Park’s Paul Robertson and Robin Smith in the final.

They were only Woonona side in a field of 41 teams chasing the first Senior Zone title of the year and the opportunity to play for a state crown against the other 15 zone champions in the NSW Championships in October.

‘’You want to go as far as you can in every tournament and to win it is pretty special,’’ Forbes said. ‘’We managed to do what we needed to do in each match and play well throughout.’’

Forbes is having a great run recently having played in the final of the Champion of Champion Fours, plus his Woonona team were runners-up in the NSW Club Challenge Mixed Gold. His partner John Ritchie was playing in his seventh Zone final after previously winning the Open Triples and Open Pairs titles in 2008. Ritchie is also a former finalist in the prestigious Zone Singles, and three times reached the final of the Illawarra Fours.

‘’It’s great to have such a good run. You keep doing your best and see what happens,’’ Ritchie said.

Ritchie and Forbes (skip) advanced to the final last Saturday with a strong 26-16 win over Towradgi’s Ray Byrnes and Brian Purdie, who had won four matches heading by a combined 10 shots.

Meanwhile, Wiseman Park duo Paul Robertson and Robin Smith went one better than 12 months ago by beating Robbie Fahey and Ken Hunt 19-15 in their semi-final. The Wiseman Park side lost to the Corrimal pair in last year’s semi-final.

‘’Every game we’ve won has been dramatic,’’ Smith said.

‘’There’s been comebacks, last-end wins, one shot wins, but we managed to get over the line. It hasn’t been easy.’’

Paul Robertson won the Zone 16 President’s Reserve Singles in 1993 and almost 12 months ago had his most memorable win partnering Woonona club father-and- son Warren and Jared Hamilton, and Wayne Toomey to claim the 2017 South Pacific Fours.

‘’The Zone Reserve Singles was a while ago and it’s great to get back to another (zone) final,’’ said

Robertson, who has battled injury in the past few months.

Meanwhile, 11 clubs have a representative in this Saturday’s last 16 of the President Reserve Pairs at Windang BC.

Two rounds were played last Sunday with four Wiseman Park teams advancing to round three, including defending champions Garry O’Brien and Peter McMurtrie.

Round three and the quarter-finals are on Saturday with the semi-finals and final this Sunday. One of Illawarra’s smallest clubs, Collies ORB remain in contention with Greg Wray and Anthony Golinski winning two games last Saturday. Windang have three teams in the hunt, while Bellambi have two, plus one team from Oak Flats, Warilla, Kembla Heights, Dapto Citizens, Kiama and Bomaderry.

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