‘Luckiest bowl you could ever play’ does trick

Oliver Mason. PHOTO: ODT FILES
Oliver Mason. PHOTO: ODT FILES
There are moments in bowls when you just need luck to go your way.

Oliver Mason acknowledged his fortune when he won the combined ranking singles at the Bowls Dunedin Stadium on Saturday.

The match, played between the winners of each ranking singles final, brought the curtain down on another successful Dunedin PBA season, and featured some brilliant draw play, while bringing the best out of the two players involved.

Mason qualified for the final when beating Russell Dawe 6-6, 11-5 with dominant play in the second set in the final of the first ranking singles.

His opponent, Brent McEwan, beat Dawe in the second ranking singles final, also played on Saturday, 11-3, 8-4.

Dawe’s defeat in both ranking singles finals ended a run of victories throughout the 2023 season in which he featured in four of seven finals and saw his national ranking at the start of the season lift from 59th to 11th.

McEwan, who began the year ranked 35, could now join Mason in the top 10.

His ability to draw shots that smothered the jack put the heat on all his opponents, as Mason discovered in the first set of the final, which McEwan won 9-4.

Mason began playing with more composure in the second set, but could not break through the pressure McEwan was keeping on the head.

With two games remaining in the second and final set, McEwan held a 6-4 lead, when the rub of the green went Mason’s way.

He drew a single shot with his final bowl of the penultimate eighth end, and play swung his way when he picked up four shots on the final end to win 9-6 and force a best-of-three-end tie-break.

In the first end, McEwan sat a bowl on the jack and looked assured of taking the advantage, only for Mason to draw around in front of it and drag the jack to secure shot and the first end.

McEwan appeared to have the advantage in the second end, holding two shots on top of the jack and forcing Mason on the drive, which led to what bowlers refer to as a miracle bowl.

Mason’s drive hit the sweet spot, clearing McEwan’s bowls into the ditch and having the jack rebound towards his own front bowls to secure the match.

Mason said bowls was sometimes just a matter of luck.

"Brent played better than me and I had no answer to some of his shots," he said.

"I was lucky to play a tie-break. That last bowl would be the luckiest bowl you could ever play . . . but that’s bowls."