Corrimal’s Aydan Murphy and Tim Cavanough delivered Illawarra Zone 16 a spot in the final of the State Rookies Pairs, after four impressive wins at Raymond Terrace Bowling Club.
The Corrimal team took on the other 15 Zone champions in the tournament set up for registered bowlers with less than 30 months experience at their local club.
Corrimal were beaten by Kurri Kurri pair Greg Musgrove and Peter Sumner 19-5 in the 12-end final, after only trailing 6-5 through a tight first six ends.
Albion Park’s Darren Coombes represented Zone 16 in the Rookies Singles and after winning his opening sectional match 17-14 against Greenlees Park (Zone 10), was beaten by section winner Tony Thurtell (Glenbrook, Zone 5), and Troy Dombkins (East Maitland, Zone 6) to miss out on a semi-final spot.
Thurtell lost his semi-final to Darren Conroy (Wagga Rules, Zone 8) with Wests Leagues’ John Boumelhem ( Zone 13) taking the 2017 Rookies Singles title with a 17-7 win in last Sunday’s final.
While Coombes had a tough time in the Singles, Murphy and Cavanough were outstanding in Saturday’s Pairs.
The Corrimal duo stormed into the decider with three section wins and then blasting aside Ballina’s Greg Jeffery and Mark Querrell 24-5 in the semi-final.
Earlier, Corrimal were unbeaten in their pool, defeating St Johns Park 12-8, Bullahdelah BC 13-6 and Kempsey Macleay RSL 16-11 to finish with 3wins (+16).
‘’Corrimal’s not the biggest club and we’re really pleased to have made the final,’’ Cavanough told the Mercury just minutes after Saturday’s final.
‘’We came up here with no expectations but to have a crack and see where it took us. You don’t know if you’ll ever get to a state event again so the whole experience has been fantastic.
‘’We played really well in four games … and it wasn’t that we played poorly in the final it was just they (Kurri Kurri) were too good and deserved their win.
‘’But I’ll look back on this day as being a standout moment in bowls – no matter what happens in the future.’’
Cavanough played Grade 3 pennants in 2017 in his second year of bowls, plus also made the semi-finals in Singles and Pairs of the Zone 16 Rookies in 2016. Murphy has been playing for less than a year and is eligible for the Rookies tournament in 2018.
And while Coombes lost two of his three games at Raymond Terrace, he told the Mercury after his win in the Zone 16 Rookies Singles last August he hasn’t had much experience playing singles in his two years at Albion Park.
Coombes played in the Park’s Grade 4 pennant team in 2017 and will be pressing towards a higher grade in 2018 after winning the 2017 Zone Rookies Singles which featured 18 bowlers from 10 clubs.
The State Rookies was brought in several years ago to encourage inexperienced players and help them improve. It gives bowlers an opportunity to play for a title within their Zone and even strive to win a State title against players of similar experience.