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.
Hafizullah Mohaqiq was born in Afghanistan, spent periods living in Pakistan and Iran, before arriving in Shepparton two months ago.
The Mulwala Lions had satisfying and hard fought win, in difficult conditions, against last year’s grand finalists at Lonsdale Reserve on Saturday.
The Fairley Leadership Program met in Tatura on Wednesday, exploring ‘Water and our catchment’ at Goulburn Murray Water.
Two descendants of World War I soldiers planted a Lone Pine tree at Echuca cemetery last week to honour the Anzacs, including their grandparents.
Lockington Vintage Tractor and Stationary Engine Rally is on for the 18th time this weekend and there is something for everyone.
Kyabram and District Sportstar of the Year nominations finalised
Three local clubs get together at Kings Park.
Tributes flow for Finley's inspiring mother, friend and farming advocate Jennifer Hawkins
A visit by Coliban Water to Heathcote last week provided residents with a chance to quiz staff about water and sewer services.
A new book, Men from the River Bends, honours Cobram-Barooga and district soldiers who paid the ultimate sacrifice after enlisting in World War 1.
Deniliquin bowler Dennis O'Keefe lost 25-19 in his bid for a quarter-final spot in the Victorian Singles Championships this week.
Widespread rain late last week and on Saturday put a smile on the faces of farmers preparing to sow crops or waiting for weeds to emerge on early-sown rye-grass.
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