Shepparton Golf duo Wayne and John Gribble have conquered the wind and their rivals to win Goulburn Valley Bowls Division's Champion of Champion pairs final.HANNAH DRISCOLL January 6, 2014 4:05am
The wind was just as much an opponent as any of the rival duos in Goulburn Valley Bowls Division’s Champion of Champion pairs finals yesterday.
When one of the sponsor’s flag poles from the previous day’s tournament bent over as the wind swept across the Shepparton Golf green, it gave some indication of just what the competitors were trying to contend with.
It was home club father-son duo Wayne and John Gribble who came out on top in the final against Nagambie’s Greg Brack and Rob Smith, 26-14 with an end to spare.
‘‘It was incredible, just over the moon with it,’’ Wayne said.
‘‘There’s not too many sports you can play with your dad and win,’’ John said.
The Gribbles met East Shepparton’s Geoff Franze and Scott Adams in the semi-final yesterday and were forced to go to an extra end after they drew 17-17, going on to win by a shot.
Brack and Smith played three games yesterday, beating Shepparton RSL’s Glen Power and Dennis McHarry in the quarter-final 21-16 before eliminating Mooroopna’s Bruce Lorains and Daryll Bailey, 19-12.
The Gribbles had been slow off the mark in the semi-final, trailing by as much as eight shots after the ninth and 11th ends before drawing level on the 15th, but there was to be no repeat in the main event.
They raced ahead to an 8-1 lead after five ends, but Brack and Smith managed to draw within one shot when they picked up a four on the 12th end.
Wayne Gribble had forced a four-shot turnaround going from three down to one up with his final bowl, but Brack managed to knock out the shot bowl and leave the jack to pounce on a four-shot opportunity.
But the Gribbles, who had celebrated John’s 40th birthday only days before and were first-time club champions, dropped only one shot after that.
They closed out the match snaring four shots on back-to-back ends, scrapping the need for the final end.
The Gribbles had survived some close calls to win the final, both at club level and in the knockout rounds, including a one-shot win against Kyabram’s Jim Oliver and Joe Greco.
They had played together in the tournament at Shepparton Golf on Saturday, and although Wayne said they ‘‘didn’t do so well’’ it was a ‘‘good warm-up for this game’’.
But the wind was difficult to account for with each shot.
‘‘It’s very, very tricky. The wind could blow a gale while your bowl’s halfway down and it could cut the head, or then when you go up on the narrow side it could blow the bowl out or it might leave it alone and it will still cut the head,’’ Wayne said.
‘‘Very, very tricky conditions and it was a very tough game.’’
Brack and Smith were Nagambie’s men’s pairs champions last year, but did not play in the division finals, and Brack said it was “excellent” for them to make yesterday’s final.
He said it was “pretty tough” playing three games, especially because of the conditions and said the wind was worse as the day progressed.
‘‘After three games, you’re playing the last game and you have to concentrate so hard and you’re getting tireder,’’ Brack said.
‘‘You’re just trying to get that weight and wind exact and if the wind dies, you’re gone, and if the wind picks up, you’re gone, so there’s not much you can do about it. You’ve both got to play in it.’’
Today at 8.30pm on SBS television the Insight program casts its eye on Shepparton and asks the question: How do you beat the odds in a place where too many kids drop out of school, and not enough of them find jobs?
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