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Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Ryan wins thriller at Australian Open

It is a bit hard to define a man of Mark Ryan’s stature — figuratively and literally — as a giant-killer, but the Mooroopna bowls coach performed that role yesterday.

MARC MCGOWAN February 18, 2013 4:05am

It is a bit hard to define a man of Mark Ryan’s stature — figuratively and literally — as a giant-killer, but the Mooroopna bowls coach performed that role yesterday.

Ryan joined multiple Shepparton Golf premiership player Matt Robertson and exuberant Seymour player Luke Spargo as round one Australian Open singles winners at Darebin City Bowls Club.

Another Goulburn Valley bowler, Hill Top coach Rod Werner, suffered a 4-9, 6-10 defeat to Jeremy Henry.

Ryan, the reigning Victorian Open champion and 2009 Australian Open semi-finalist, claimed the highest-profile scalp of the trio, beating world fours champion Wayne Ruediger, of South Australia, 5-7, 9-2, 3-2.

Not even the tie-breaker scoreline does justice to the thrilling nature of Ryan’s triumph.

He was 2-1 down through two of the three tie-breaker ends, but was holding the match-winning two shots before Ruediger cut that to one to send the contest to an extra end.

Ryan won the toss and forced Ruediger to play the first bowl, meaning he would have last say on the end.

It was just as well, because Ryan — one down with only his last bowl to come — took the risk of playing with more weight and collected the kitty and dumped it in the ditch, along with his bowl, to win the match.

His support crew, including his wife and fellow Goulburn Valley players, erupted.

‘‘I had second shot and he had one about a foot short of the jack on a pretty long end and I’d already tried to draw two and failed,’’ Ryan said.

‘‘I thought I might as well give it a chance and play with some weight and try to get the jack or bowl out and I was lucky enough to get the jack.

‘‘Halfway down I thought I was a bit wide, but it started turning and I thought I was going to get a little bit of the kitty, but I ended up getting the whole lot of it and it went into the ditch and sat on top of it.’’

Ruediger was one of several big names yesterday to exit the tournament, including world champion Leif Selby, Steve Glasson and Brett Wilkie.

Ryan next meets youngster Matthew Ayres, who upset Neil Burkett 8-6, 8-10, 3-2.

Robertson eliminated Jack Pater 10-5, 9-9 to set up a clash with Neville Rodda, while Spargo also needed a tie-breaker to quell Dennis Margan 4-9, 10-4, 5-0.

Spargo’s second round opponent is Clayton star Tony Wood.

Past Shepparton Park premiership player Donna Clarke, who made the Australian Open third round three years ago, starts her singles campaign today.

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