World Champion Shannon McIlroy made his debut in Bowls3Five tonight against the Royal Oak Rockets and the Point Chevalier Pirates, Stoke Thunder playing the double header, after returning from World Champion of Champions Singles with a gold medal.
McIlroy was eager to come into Bowls3Five, having previously played in the Bowls Premier League, and keen to win both games tonight to keep the Thunder in play-off contention.
As with the first three weeks of competition the Royal Oak Rockets played their sure and steady game and weren’t going to make it easy for the Thunder.
Mike Galloway playing exceptionally well as skip for the Royal Oak Rockets pushing the Stoke Thunder bowls out of contention on multiple occasions during the game.
The Rockets and Thunder were toe-to-toe through the first set, both teams using their power play to try get the break-away advantage but with no big scores made under power play the first set ended in a tie.
Ultimately the Stoke Thunder came out winning 3-2 in the last end of the second set as McIlroy knocked the jack into the ditch with only one bowl to be played by Mike Galloway there was no coming back for the Rockets.
“The beauty of this sport is that anyone can be a winner on the day,
“It’s a different rink to play on, it levels the playing field” says McIlroy
Stokes Valley Vipers showcased a new side with debutant Alieta Vulu coming into the mix and making the Vipers the first team to play two women in their combination for the second match of the night.
Game two looked like it was going to be a clean sweep from the Rams, Gore taking the first set 7-0 against the Vipers and were leading three ends into the second set when the Vipers, the first team to also play a female skip in the competition, came back strong earning six points following with another four in consecutive ends and taking set two 10-6, forcing the first tie-break of the night.
Another first in the competition was made with White taking the role of skip for the Vipers Seamus Curtin and Blake Signal both on representative duties off shore.
“I just can’t believe it really, I will have to tell the boys I am skipping from now on” Says White.
Stoke Thunder came back for more in game three facing the top team in the league, the Point Chevalier Pirates.
Pirates came out scoring some big points in set one, 19-year-old skip Aiden Takarua showing his accuracy with multiple bowls drawing right to the jack.
The game was never going to be straight forward with the top of the table Pirates out to take the lead and the Thunder wanting to close the gap.
A moment of pressure saw a bowl from Alex Reed knock the jack out of the head and breaking the minimum length required, forcing the jack to be re-spotted on the two-metre mark. This worked in the Pirates favour as Takarua drew another great bowl winning the end for the Pirates and sending the game to the second tie break of the night.
Pirates look to be taking control of the tie break but a great drive from Kirsten Edwards saw the jack end in the ditch, putting the Thunder in closer proximity than the Pirates and securing the end and the overall win.
Thunder end the night at the top of the points table on 18, having played both their games and the Pirates and Rams still to play their second games tomorrow the fight is still on and there is still no clear leader in this late stage of sectional play.
Day seven results
Stoke Thunder bt Royal Oak Rocket 5-5, 3-2
Stokes Valley Vipers bt Gore Rams 0-7, 10-6 (Stokes Valley Vipers won the tie-break end 2-0)
Stoke Thunder bt Point Chevalier Pirates 7-5, 3-5 (Thunder won the tie-break end 1-0)
Standings after seven nights
Stoke Thunder 18
Pt Chevalier Pirates 15
Gore Rams 12
Royal Oak Rockets 9
Stokes Valley Vipers 9
Woodend Jets 0
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