Bowls ACT congratulate the champions and commend all clubs and members for their involvement
With the Grade 1 Womens Mid-Week Pennant competition concluding Bowls ACT look back at the 2023 competition, the winners in each grade and the fine performances over the season. Bowls ACT also invite members to complete a survey for the continued improvement of the competition.
The heartbreak of 2022 nearly repeated for the eventual champion Tuggeranong Vikings with Crookwells Colleen Picker almost trailing the jack for a big score which would have given Queanbeyan the title with the last bowl of the season. It wasn’t to be though with Vikings claiming the 2023 Grade 1 title following an impressive season with just a two shot loss to QRSL in round 8 and a one shot defeat to 2022 champions Canberra in round 1 the only blemishes on a great season with skip Pat Hamilton having a memorable campaign to sit second on the skips ladder.
The two Queanbeyan clubs finished in second and third, both with five wins and both can be commended for great seasons. Runners-up Queanbeyan will be ruing the one shot loss to Vikings in round 9 as the game which defined their season but can be proud of the efforts of all players. Mandy Stitt topping the skips ladder with five wins, two draws and just one defeat across the eight matches. For Queanbeyan RSL Memorial there is a lot to be proud of, with the club boasting some impressive results, perhaps none more so than a tough round one victory away at Crookwell.
Canberra and Crookwell finished fourth and fifth with both clubs showing they have got what it takes but finding consistent results will be critical. For 2022 Grade 1 winners Canberra the club was never far off, but couldn’t find the same results as the previous year. Crookwell can be commended for their continued efforts in the clubs first year in Grade 1 with Janette Dunn & Colleen Picker both showing some touches of real class.
An incredibly close season which came down to the final round with three clubs in contention for the title saw Canberra North run out as champions with a final round defeat of Yass. It was a stellar campaign for the club after starting a little wobbly in the opening rounds, falling to Vikings & Yowani but steadied following the round four bye to go undefeated the rest of the season, only dropping one rink along the way as Gina Dowley showed her class with 5 wins from 6 games as skip.
Both runners-up Yowani and third place Queanbeyan were in the calculations until the final round was completed and can be proud of their efforts in such a competitive grade, Yowani falling to Norths by a single shot in round 8 proving pivotal in the context of their season. For third place Queanbeyan their season had some volatile results, lots of big wins mixed with a couple of sizable losses. Offence was no issue for QBC scoring the highest aggregate in Grade 2 but defeats to the top two clubs proved costly, though the Heather Starr rink can be proud of the season claiming six wins.
Vikings and Yass both found things tougher in this grade but can be proud of their efforts in a strong Grade 2 competition with Vikings showing they were close, knocking off both Norths and Yowani during the season to show they belong in this competition. For Yass the club were able to give lots of players a game, using 16 players over the season with all gaining valuable experience which will have the club in good stead for the future.
In what was a very even competition it was Tuggeranong Vikings who were able to rise to the top with a final round defeat of runners-up Yowani and claim the Grade 3 title in an impressive showing from the club with teams in all womens grades. Vikings were the standout all season, with the only losses to Goulburn Railway in round 1 and Yowani in round 5 seeing both Sally Winter & Heather Goodman in the top three on the skips ladder.
Runners-up Yowani can be mightily proud of their achievements this season, highlighted as I understand with a team boat cruise/dinner to celebrate a very promising campaign with newer members given opportunities and more experienced players like Kaye McCaskill, who topped the skips ladder, providing guidance and a steady hand.
Third, fourth and fifth were all super close with Canberra, Goulburn Railway and the composite Queanbeyan/Bungendore/Weston Creek side all finishing within a whisker of one another. All clubs having some fine results, with Canberra claiming a comprehensive victory over Yowani in round 6 a highlight for the Forrest club. Goulburn Railway claimed a good victory over Vikings in round 1 and continued to be strong at home but need to take their home form on the road, claiming only one rink away. The composite Queanbeyan/Bungendore/Weston Creek side was a great credit to all clubs for coming together and giving their members more opportunities to play in the competition and I expect some great new friendships have emerged as well as some top results with it all clicking in the final round with a big victory over Goulburn.
In just the competitions second season the Mens Mid-Week Pennant was also hotly contested with all eight clubs playing together before a finals series sorted the top four clubs into Grade 1 and the remaining four clubs into Grade 2. Members are encouraged to provide feedback on the competition by completing the survey, click the link below.
Weston Creek finished the regular season on top, with only one loss to Yass in round 4, but the club would face the NSW club again in the major semi-final, with the victor through to the Grand Final. Yass prevailed again, earning the right to host the Grade 1 Mid-Week final and sent Weston Creek to the preliminary final where they would meet Crookwell, who had finished the regular season in fourth to sneak into the Grade 1 Finals and accounted for Queanbeyan RSL in the minor semi-final, despite the best efforts of Dave Cave whose outstanding year need to be acknowledged. Crookwell followed up that performance to play themselves into the Grade 1 Grand Final with a two shot victory over Weston Creek, who bowed out but were not disgraced with many fine performances in the 2023 season. The Grand Final looked to be all Crookwells early with Stephen Greenwood rattling up a big early lead over Craig Sleigh, but Yass fought back to give themselves a chance with Barry Bush needing just two shots on the final end to go to extra ends, but narrowly missed in a crowded head to see Crookwell crowned the Grade 1 Champions in their first season in the competition, doing it the hard way from fourth on the ladder!
Yowani 1 finished as the top seed in Grade 2 after a mixed season with some very good wins highlighted by a round 6 defeat of Yass and would have felt confident heading into the major semi final against Queanbeyan after a solid victory in round 5. Queanbeyan were able to turn the tables in this contest as recently graduated (both from high school & into the Jackaroos program) Harvey McAlister put on a clinic to help the Stingers to a comfortable win and hosting rights for the Grade 2 final. The minor semi-final was another battle of Northbourne Ave with Canberra North hosting Yowani 2 with both clubs finding form at the back-end of the season, Norths prevailed on this occasion and would meet Yowani 1 in the preliminary final, narrowly missing out on a berth in the Grand Final with Ron Hawke in fine form for Yowani in this contest and all through the season to setup a repeat of the Major Semi-Final, but this time on the Queanbeyan greens for the final. It was a more competitive contest this time with Phil Beggs going very close against Jim McFarlane, but it was again the Harvey McAlister show, the young maestro will be giving Ron Hawke nightmares with another composed performance to take Queanbeyan to the title.