Robbie Warren enjoyed a career-satisfying moment with his club Wiseman Park a double winner, plus finalist at the 60th annual South Pacific carnival.
Towradgi Bowling Club put on an excellent carnival as more than 800 bowlers from across NSW and interstate played 10 days of Singles, Pairs, Fours and a new event, Combination Pairs.
The carnival’s evolution with the introduction of women bowlers in Combination Pairs proved a huge success with husband and wife teams, family pairings and friends making up 48 teams.
World Champion and South Coast product Karen Murphy, and Scottish international Kay Moran were the highest profile players and met in the final with Murphy and Windang’s Steve Sprod beating Moran and her partner 2018 NSW Pairs champion Matt Miles.
‘’I’m really pleased women are able to play here,’’ Murphy said before the final.
‘’It’s a carnival steeped in history and now it’s open to women I’m sure the carnival will go from strength to strength.’’
Murphy believes a Women’s Singles event is the next step forward but that would require additional sponsorship, with carnival officials keen for the Combination Pairs to grow over the next few years.
But after a few years of sliding entry numbers, the Combination Pairs reinvigorated the carnival and the timing of the new event over the last three days was welcomed by everyone.
The carnival was blessed by near perfect weather and the 14 hosting venues did a great job welcoming the many visitors to the region.
For those who love their South Pacific history there were a couple of notable statistics. It was only the third year since 2000 that John Green or Shane Garvey did not win a carnival title, with Green unable to defend his Fours crown and beaten by eventual champions skipped by Robbie Warren in the quarter-finals. Secondly, Corey Wedlock marked his debut for his new club Warilla by winning a third Singles title in five years, after being a semi-finalist in his other two appearances.
Still just 22 years old the Jackaroos squad member showed what an outstanding recruit he’ll be for the Gorillas this season and, with his best years to come, Wedlock is just one Singles triumph from equalling Shane Garvey’s record of four titles.
And while Wedlock celebrates his third carnival crown there was plenty of goodwill for Robbie Warren who collected his first title after playing in the event on and off for around 35 years.
Warren has been a consistently top bowler his whole career and after reaching the Pairs final in 2012 went one better in the Fours with his Wiseman Park clubmates Chris Smith, Ben Ford and Player of the Carnival Shane Pascoe.
‘’With all the history and all the great bowlers to play here, it feels special to win one,’’ Warren said after his Fours triumph.
Wiseman Park were the outstanding club in winning the Fours, plus Pascoe also winning the pairs with Tom Hull.
Kiama are celebrating its 100 th year in 2019 and are an excellent chance to host the 61st South Pacific.