A shot at one of the biggest purses in New Zealand bowls is on the line when the Stoke Thunder and Gore Rams square-off on the penultimate night of the inaugural Bowls3Five televised league.
They will meet at the New Lynn Bowling Club in Auckland tomorrow night (Tuesday, November 27) for the right to play the Point Chevalier Pirates in the final the following evening.
The $15,000 winners’ cheque is what the three remaining title contenders are chasing, with $7,000 for the runner-up and $4,000 for third.
It is win or bust for Gore skip Sheldon Bagrie-Howley.
“You can make the top two and still walk away down and that’s not including all the expenses and time off work,” Bagrie-Howley said.
“You go up and down there each week and…lose the final and you’re still down on what you put in for the entry fee ($6,500).”
Bagrie-Howley will be joined by Ashleigh Jeffcoat (lead) and Caleb Hope in a Rams trio that has been unchanged throughout the competition.
He expects the battle between Jeffcoat and Stoke lead Kirsten Edwards to decide the match
“When it comes to two bowl triples, when your lead is not on it you’re really pushing sh** uphill to be fair,” he said.
“It’s very much like pairs. It’s very lead based.”
Kirsten Edwards only started playing off the front last week, having been the Thunder’s number two for most of the round-robin.
“I don’t usually lead very much at all to tell you the truth, so it’s a little bit different for me,” Edwards said.
“It feels okay and hopefully I can get some close for the boys.”
The Gore Rams got the better of the Stoke Thunder in both of their round-robin meetings, with the Rams winning all four sets.
“They’ve beaten us a couple of times, but I feel like we’ve got team the right way around now and if we play like we can I think we’ll be really hard to beat,” she said.
The Thunder and Rams will square-off in the second match of the penultimate night with the Royal Oak Rockets and Stokes Valley Vipers to open proceedings.
The winner of their match will finish fourth and take home $2,000 in prize money, while the loser will face the Woodend Jets on Wednesday night (November 28) for the right to play in the Bowls3Five televised league next year.
The total prize pool is $28,000.
1st place: $15,000
2nd place: $7,000
3rd place: $4,000
4th place: $2,000
Day 11 matches (both broadcast LIVE on SKY Sport 2, coverage from 7pm):
Royal Oak Rockets vs Stokes Valley Vipers (4th vs 5th) – 7:10pm
Gore Rams vs Stoke Thunder (2nd vs 3rd) – 8:30pm
Day 12 matches (both broadcast LIVE on SKY Sport 2, coverage from 7pm):
Relegation match: Woodend Jets vs loser of 4th vs 5th – 7:10pm
Title match: Point Chevalier Pirates vs winner of 2nd vs 3rd – 8:30pm
Final standings after round-robin
Pt Chev Pirates 24
Stoke Thunder 21
Gore Rams 18
Royal Oak Rockets 15
Stokes Valley Vipers 12
Woodend Jets 0