Figtree Sports won four matches in two days to storm into the final of the Zone 16 Champion of Club Champion Fours at Fairy Meadow BC.
The Figtree rink of Mark Kesby, Rod Thomas, Gordon Young and Peter Ford beat Oak Flats 19-17 in the lone round one match, and then won three more games to set up a clash against Albion Park in Saturday afternoon's decider.
Albion Park Eagles' Leonard Hartley, Michael Harris, Dave Gentles and Paul Harris (skip) showed poise to win three tight games by a combined eight shots to qualify for the last Zone final of the year.
Meanwhile, all four members of Oak Flats' victorious Fours team are quitting the club with the Zone Champion Fours their final match for Oak Flats.
The bowlers were scathing over the running of the club with Paul Hart and Paul Rooke heading to Kiama next season and Steve Sprod and Gregg Stevens to transfer to Windang.
Oak Flats lost a tight first round Zone Champion Fours match to Figtree last Saturday morning.
Oak Flats have improved immensely on the green over the past couple of years but is facing a revolt within its bowling ranks.
The club's popular bowls coordinator Kay Moran has accepted a role with Figtree Sports effectively replacing their bowls manager David Kelly.
Paul Hart, Paul Rooke and Gregg Stevens are all former Shellharbour members who joined Oak Flats when Shellharbour closed, while Steve Sprod joined Oak Flats from Windang BC.
The turmoil at Oak Flats looks set to be good news for Windang BC who will pick up a number of quality bowlers for pennants in 2021.
Wiseman Park is also divided over its future with a host of its top bowlers facing a decision to stay or leave for next season.
Meanwhile, the Zone 16 Champion of Club Champion Fours is the last Zone championship of a tumultuous 2020 and while not a state event it still carries plenty of prestige.
The Figtree rink skipped by Peter Ford had arguably the toughest draw of the 15 competing Zone Fours champions and after seeing off Oak Flats they backed up to beat Corrimal 26-18.
The Falcons were taken to the brink in a 19-18 win over Windang in round three last Sunday, before booking a spot in the final with an impressive 24-12 win over one of the tournament favourite Dapto Citizens.
Meanwhile, Albion Park won a tense round two clash against Kiama 20-19, then won another dogfight 22-20 over Wiseman Park in the quarter-finals.
The Eagles secured a spot in the decider with a 20-15 victory over host club Fairy Meadow, who have done a great job as headquarters for the trifecta of Zone Champion of Champion events, taking on the Singles, Pairs and Fours.
Youth, experience triumph
Former Huntley bowler Rod Taylor combined with talented Dapto Citizens junior Cael Arneman to claim the club's 2020 Major Minor Pairs title.
The duo played well throughout the championship and beat Rob O'Rourke and Michael Bourke 20-13 in a high-quality final.
Both finalists had to be at their best to make the decider with O'Rourke and Bourke beating the club's Maltese international Shaun Parnis and Tom Chidiac 18-17 in a thrilling semi-final, while Taylor-Arneman had the better of Brian Fox Jr and Rob Lawrence 18-13.
The final was held in excellent conditions with promising junior Arneman more than holding his own against his comparative veterans.
The momentum ebbed and flowed with Taylor and Arneman clinging to a 17-13 lead on the penultimate 20th end before picking up a three to seal victory.
On the fourth end, Arneman held shot after playing his three bowls, before O'Rourke played a great bowl and took the kitty, then regained shot off Taylor with a drive.
However, there was just enough space for Taylor to draw the shot and pick up one shot.
It's been a great season for Taylor who combined with John Sperring to win the 2020 Dapto Citizens Major Pairs; beating Chris Green and John Hills in the final.
Summer League makes a splash
The Illawarra women's bowls season is powering on with eight teams featuring in the annual Summer League competition.
The comp is designed to support bowlers who due to work or other commitments may not be unable to play in the traditional pennants competition, which in 2020 was cancelled due to COVID-19.
The various District/Association Summer League winners from across NSW qualify for the state finals in February at Blacktown Workers.
This year eight Illawarra teams are chasing the Illawarra Summer League title and have been split into two sections of four with six rounds. The section winners meet in the Illawarra final early next month.
Thirroul have nominated four teams with Figtree having three sides and one team from Oak Flats.
Twelve months ago a composite Oak Flats Ospreys team of Lynette Thelan, Leanne Smith and Kim Suckley won the local competition, with Merimbula Splinters taking out the state crown.