Story originally published as “OPEN GENDER STATE PENNANT FINALS – GRADE 1 WRAP” by Billy Johnson (Bowls NSW Ltd) – www.bowlsnsw.com.au
St Johns Park are State Pennant champions once again, winning the 2021 BCiB Bowls NSW Open Gender Grade 1 State Pennant 80 – 42 over Engadine. Played in wet conditions at Forster Bowling Club, the Saints jumped out to an early 18 – 1 lead over the Cougars, courtesy of an 11 – 0 start from the Sean Baker skipped rink. From there, they maintained a comfortable buffer throughout the final despite some push back from Engadine. The performance was clinical not only from start to finish, but across all positions, proving that the victory was a true team effort. Engadine did not play badly by any means, they simply came up against a St Johns Park side in red hot form.
In the morning semi-finals, St Johns Park overcame a fast-starting Raymond Terrace outfit to win 59 – 56 in a nailbiter. A 23 – 12 win to Ben Twist’s rink accounted for two narrow losses on the other rinks to see the Saints through to the final. It was a very different story for Engadine, who jumped out to a huge lead against Charlestown and never let up, eventually winning 80 – 33. All three rinks recorded solid wins against their Newcastle based opposition.
Remarkably, both finalists did lose a match during sectional play. St Johns Park were beaten by Mt Lewis in the opening round, and Cabramatta got the better of Engadine in the second round. These matches could have been the catalyst that sparked both sides into form, as they continued to improve as the competition went on.
Ultimately though, there can only be one winner, and St Johns Park were deserving of the title. A special mention must also go to Dawn Hayman, who has become the first woman in history to win the Bowls NSW Open Gender Grade 1 State Pennant Final! Congratulations to all sides today, and to all the sides who have competed over the last three days in the Open Gender State Pennant Finals.