There is something about Shepparton Park Bowls Club that agrees with Mark Ryan.By Marc McGowan
There is something about Shepparton Park Bowls Club that agrees with Mark Ryan.
The Mooroopna coach will return to the venue today to play in the Victorian Open singles final.
Ryan, 28, won the Group Five Champion of Champions title at Shepparton Park last year and made the Australian Open singles semi-finals there four years ago.
His latest feat at Shepparton Park came last night, when he ended clubmate Paul Warren’s giant-killing run in straight sets, 8-5, 10-5.
‘‘It feels good. I’m pretty stoked,’’ Ryan said.
‘‘I didn’t expect this at the start of the week. I was just happy to get through Sunday and I’ve had three more wins today.
‘‘But there is still one more to go. You don’t remember second. I have unfinished business here, after losing the Australian Open semi-final here.’’
Ryan booked his semi-final berth with wins over Lalor’s Bob Watt (9-4, 8-9, 6-1) and Cohuna’s Terry Gilmore (8-6, 10-7) yesterday, while Warren advanced with victories against St Kilda’s Rob Briglia (14-4, 7-7) and Brighton’s Peter Kennedy (11-6, 1-8, 3-1).
Both players won their sections on Sunday before adding two more knockout victories the same day.
Ryan was the first player on the board in their semi-final, but Warren — known as ‘‘Rabbit’’ — won three of the next four ends to establish a 4-2 advantage.
Ryan wasn’t bowling badly to that stage, but took his standard to another level.
He enjoyed an ounce of luck on the sixth end, when Warren tickled the jack, but failed to dislodge it, before Ryan added a third shot to his haul to snatch a 5-4 lead.
Ryan never trailed again, despite Warren drawing within one shot a second time at 6-5 going into the last end of the opening set.
The first set was Ryan’s when Warren’s last-gasp drive to remove his opponent’s bowls sailed wide and into the ditch.
Ryan went ahead 5-0 in the blink of an eye in the second set before Warren steadied again to pick up the next three shots across two ends.
Then came the game-breaker. Ryan surrounded the jack with his first three bowls of the fifth end, whereas Warren struggled to get close.
Warren again launched a drive to try to reduce the damage, but missed, and Ryan subsequently drew a fourth shot to move 9-3 ahead.
Warren, ever the fighter, managed single-shot gains on the next two ends, but Ryan’s one-shot collect on the eighth end was enough to stop the clash one end early.
‘‘Whoever I play in the final will be good, so it’s just about how I play,’’ Ryan said.
It was the end of a big week for Warren, who said he didn’t let the big-name players he faced faze him.
‘‘I never thought I’d get this far, but I enjoyed it all the way,’’ Warren said.
‘‘Whatever happened there, the club’s had a good result.
‘‘They are star bowlers, but they’re just another bloke with a bowl. I’ll never be as good as them, but it’s just great to go out and have a game with them and play well.’’
Warren was pleased to go some way to emulating his second cousin Quinten Auldridge’s achievement in the 1970s, when the Violet Town bowler won a state pairs title.
Ryan will play Brighton’s Lee Schraner in today’s final at Shepparton Park at 7
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