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District bowlers perform well at Australian Open

Fourteen district bowlers battled the country's best this week in the Australian Open at Darebin.

LUKE MCMANUS February 22, 2014 4:04am

Melissa Larcombe (pictured playing for Echuca) played in this week's Australian Open at Darebin.


District bowlers tested their skill against the country’s best at the 2014 Australian Open this week, with 14 district competitors claiming mixed results.

The Moama Bowling Club women’s fours team, consisting of Merilyn Rehe, Marilyn Stephenson, Beryl Eddy and Sandra Connolly, progressed to the quarter-finals at Darebin International Sports Centre after recording impressive wins in the preliminary rounds.

A close two-shot win in round one was followed by a commanding 14-shot victory in round two, both games earning the foursome a spot in Wednesday’s quarter-final.

Up against Queensland’s Cathy Lewis, Glenys Read, Debbie Logan and Christine Baxter, however, Moama was outplayed, losing by 11 shots (17-6).

‘‘(We’re) disappointed not to go through but happy we made it as far as we did,’’ Stephenson said.

‘‘The game was neck and neck and I felt we had the edge as the pace of the greens suited us better.

‘‘Then the rain fell and the game changed completely.

‘‘But the whole tournament, the bowling and the competitiveness was just a wonderful experience.’’

City of Echuca women’s pair Melissa Larcombe and Veronica Kelly also made it through to the quarter-final stage after dominating the opening rounds.

Last year’s semi-finalists played Queensland duo Emma Brown and Noelene Dutton on Wednesday and, after a hard fought contest, fell by an agonising three shots (16-13).

‘‘We were playing so well up until that point,’’ Larcombe said.

‘‘Veronica kept it going and played outstandingly well, but I didn’t do too well in the end.

‘‘But that’s bowls.’’

Kelly’s and Larcombe’s pennant teammate Joan Tennent then teamed up with clubman Mich Tull for the mixed pairs event on Monday.

Tennent and Tull produced a dominant performance by defeating Judy Stainton (Glenroy) and Chris Ball (Moonee Ponds) in the first round (19-9), redemption after losing to the same pair in November’s Victorian Open.

Unfortunately, their campaign would be stopped short in the quarter-final by Queensland’s Julie Keegan and Des Carr Jun. (16-8).

In other Australian Open results, Kelly and Connolly took on the women’s singles fixture on Sunday but failed to advance past the first round.

Kelly fell by 10 shots to Queensland’s Elizabeth McCleary (21-11), while Connolly also had a tough day on the green, commendable in her defeat to state and national representative Carla Odgers (21-14).

Kelly then joined Larcombe, along with fours teammates Tennent and Jan Morton for the women’s fours but they were defeated in the first round by the talented April Wilson, Wendy Wilson, Natasha Jones and Pamela Rowe, from Queensland.

In the men’s pairs event, City of Echuca’s Phillip Thorn teamed up with Tongala’s Mick Humphreys.

Up against Melbourne Bowling Club’s Russell and Dylan Fisher, Thorn and Humphreys fell 16 shots to 11.

Tuesday also saw the City of Echuca team of Craig Larcombe, Wayne Brooks, Steve Cunnington and Thorn defeated by two shots (12-10) by the Northern Territory’s Mal Trattles, David Duguid, Ian Lane and Phil Brown.

Tennent’s Australian Open campaign continued yesterday when she reached the quarter-final stage of the over 60 pairs competition with Ocean Grove’s Val Crumbie.

The pair progressed with a three-shot win but failed to book a final’s berth, knocked out in the semi-final 18-7 to Bendigo’s Susan Howes and Glenroy’s Judy Stainton.

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