Dual Zone 16 champion Brett Pieper plus seven players chasing their first Open Singles crown have advanced to Saturday’s quarter-finals at Albion Park Bowling Club.
Four rounds last weekend left a field of 77 reduced to just eight, with Dapto Citizens having three representatives and Wiseman Park two clubmen among contenders for the biggest prize in Illawarra bowls.
Pieper became the first Zone 16 bowler in four decades to win back-to- back Open Singles titles with his triumph in 2013 and 2014.
Pieper has had three solid wins to reach the quarter-finals and now takes on his good mate and South Pacific pairs-winning partner Scott Bateup on Saturday morning for a semi-final spot.
Albion Park bowls coordinator Pieper will be playing on his home green, but his rivals for the Singles title include Zone champions, state and international players and some of the top bowlers in Illawarra.
Warilla bowlers have won four of the last six Open Singles titles, but this year it is the emerging Shane Leonard who is carrying the Gorilla’s hopes in the quarter-finals.
Leonard has already won four matches and advanced to the last eight with a tension-packed 31-30 win over his illustrious clubmate Jeremy Henry, the 2018 world indoor champion.
Leonard will face reigning South Pacific singles winner Dylan Skinner, who also beat his Dapto Citizens clubmate Peter McCauley 31-30 in a round four thriller. Defending Singles champion Warilla’s Harley McDonald – who also won the Zone 15 Singles in 2012 – was unfortunately a late withdrawal from the event. Wiseman Park star Shane Garvey is through to the quarter-finals and having already won the Pairs, Triples and Fours championship in Zone 16 would love to complete a personal grand slam by taking out the 2018 Singles.
Garvey takes on Dapto Citizens Trevor Suckley in the quarter-finals.
Garvey had a huge scare in his first match against Towradgi’s Milavoy Markovic, winning 31-30 and faces a tough match against the in-form Suckley, who has had three strong wins.
The winner of the Suckley vs Garvey quarter-final will face either Dapto Citizens’ Matt Miles or Towradgi’s Pete Bonsor in the semi-finals.
Miles beat Albion Park’s Aaron Spears 31-28 in a great round four match, while Bonsor eliminated the dangerous Jesse Noronha 31-27 in round three.
The Open Singles semi-finals will be held at Albion Park on Saturday afternoon (1pm) with the final on Sunday from 1pm. Meanwhile, five clubs have a representative in Saturday’s quarter-finals of the Zone 16 President’s Reserve Singles at Albion Park BC.