Brett Duprez is the youngest winner of the South Pacific Singles but after 15 years away from the carnival the former Australian star made a winning return in the Fours on Day 1 at Dapto Citizens.
The 1998 Commonwealth Games Pairs gold medallist is a part-time bowler these days but took up an offer to join the Fours rink of his now Taren Point clubmate John Green, the record-holding 10-time carnival winner.
As an 18-year-old Duprez remains the youngest singles champion in the carnival’s 59-year history after winning the crown in 1994.
The Albion Park junior won again in 1996 and 1998 and along with Tom Ellem and Troy Somerville, and led a new era of youth dominance, which continues a generation later with Jackeroos star Corey Wedlock bidding for a third straight Singles title by age 21. After hardly playing bowls for a decade, Duprez returned last year in pennants for Albion Park and this year - having moved to Sydney - joined powerhouse Taren Point.
‘’I haven’t played the South Pacific for like 15 years,’’ Duprez said. ‘’John [Green] asked me if I’d like to play in his [Fours] team…it’s great to be back. I only really play pennants at Taren Point plus the odd championship event now, but the South Pacific is always special and growing up it was the carnival I loved to play in.’’
Duprez was offered skipping duties just a few minutes before the opening Fours sectional match on Wednesday. He partners 2016 Fours champion Wes Falconer, John Green, and three-time Fours champ Barry Martin, with the Fours finalists from 12 months ago beginning with a 17 shot win over Geoff McGillivray’s Warilla side.
Duprez then had a good win over Bob Upton (Kembla Heights) before edging past the other unbeaten rink skipped by Craig Scott, 12-9.
The match and section went down to a tense final end, with Duprez leading 11-9 and picking up a single shot to clinch Section 7 with 3wins+43.
‘’It was tight, but we got through,’’ said Green, who has won the Fours title four times and played in 17 finals overall.
Meanwhile, defending champions Warren Hamilton, his son Jared (skip), Wayne Toomey and Paul Robertson (Woonona) were taken to the wire before winning Section 11 at Thirroul.
Hamilton was beaten by 11 shots Ray Parkes’ Thirroul side in round two, but a nine shot win over Barry Hazlegrove in the final game was enough to claim the section with 2wins+14.
Among the other teams to drop a game but still win their section was David Wakeling (2wins+20) min Section 10, Brett Pieper (2wins+30) in Section 2; Jake Chapman (2wins+12) in Section 12 and Bowral’s Garry Brown (2wins+43) in Section 16.
Among the biggest winners were Matt Miles (3wins+51) in Section 5 and Jordan Taylor (3wins+46) in Section 4; both at Dapto Citizens. Meanwhile, close to 200 bowlers are chasing the Singles crown with sectional play on with 13 Illawarra clubs hosting 47 sections, with five Singles champions – defending champ Corey Wedlock, Shane Garvey, John Green, Aaron Teys and Brett Duprez – in the field.