Thrilling final in Friendship Fours

Winners of the junior women’s Friendship Fours championship at St Kilda on Sunday are (clockwise...
Winners of the junior women’s Friendship Fours championship at St Kilda on Sunday are (clockwise from left) Elvy Thornley, Julie Alexander, Dot Mowat and Louise Natta. PHOTO: WAYNE PARSONS
It came down to the final bowl of an extra end to decide the Bowls Dunedin Junior Women’s Friendship Fours title at the St Kilda Bowling Club on Sunday.

The Fairfield four of Cathy Isaac-Croot, Tania Beattie, Gail Meddings and Alika Croot scored double-headers on the eighth and ninth ends to break a deadlock.

However, the composite team of Louise Natta, Dot Mowat, Julie Alexander and Elvy Thornley sent a clear message that it was far from done as it clawed its way back into contention, locking the game up at 10-10 at the conclusion of the 15th and final end to force a sudden death extra end to decide the title.

While nerves were apparent in the early stages of the extra end, cool heads prevailed with both seconds in what became an anxious final four bowls from both teams.

Mowat sent down a toucher with her first of two bowls.

Beattie replied in kind to pull back the shot and reclaim the lead, only for Natta to reclaim the lead with her second and final bowl.

That left the destiny of both teams in the hands of the Fairfield Four skip Isaac-Croot with her final bowl. But it went short and narrow and the title went to Natta’s composite four 11-10.

"It was an awesome game. And a team game that excelled under pressure,” Natta said of the win.

"That’s bowls. The game’s not over until the last bowl is delivered.

"It’s my last game as a junior and I’m so proud of the team."

Overcoming the Fairfield four was no easy task, as the team consists of bowlers destined to feature more on the local scene. Its youngest player, Alika Croot, is a year 13 pupil at St Hilda’s Collegiate and is the current Otago secondary schools pole vault champion.

In the junior men’s fours Kaituna Plate championship, the Brighton Club continued its rise with a convincing 19-10 victory over Andersons Bay.

The combination of Cameron Cook, Neil Turner, Peter Lunn and Michael Elkins were made to work hard for their victory in the early stages, as the Andersons Bay four of Grant Simpson, Jason King, Benji Morrell and Andrew Smaill piled on the points to lead 9-8 after the first four ends.

Cook’s Brighton four began to sneak back into the competition, locking the game up at 8-8 after eight ends of the 15-end competition, before scoring two four-pointers over the next six ends to put the game out of reach of the Andersons Bay four.

"We couldn’t do much right at all, to be fair,” Cook said of the team’s start to the final.

"But we played some nice bowls and countered it. We started scoring ones and twos and getting back into it.

‘‘And the boys started getting pumped up. And we always had something really close which sealed it. I’m bloody stoked."

- By Wayne Parsons

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