Champion Rushworth bowler Jean Sprague’s fifth Goulburn Valley Champion of Champions title yesterday brought her within one of the association’s all-time record.MARC MCGOWAN February 8, 2013 4:10am
Shepparton Park’s Di Hands congratulates Rushworth’s Jean Sprague on her fifth Goulburn Valley Champion of Champions.
Champion Rushworth bowler Jean Sprague’s fifth Goulburn Valley Champion of Champions title yesterday brought her within one of the association’s all-time record.
Only Shepparton Park life member Edna Harling’s six crowns betters Sprague’s haul, which includes victories in 2004, 2007, 2011, 2012 and this year.
Sprague, 58, did it the hard way, winning three matches in blistering heat at Euroa Bowls Club yesterday.
The first was over her arch-rival and previous champion, Mooroopna’s Stacey Collier (25-18), before defeating East Shepparton’s Josie Michielin (25-17) in the semi-finals and Shepparton Park’s Di Hands (25-22) in a top-class decider.
‘‘It’s wonderful, but I’m buggered. Tomorrow I’ll think it’s wonderful,’’ Sprague said, like only she could.
‘‘I knew the one against Stacey, if it went as normal, would be a long game and it was and Josie pushed her game up, too.
‘‘I keep thinking each year I’m that bit older and it does get a bit tougher. Today, the three games was a big thing, but that was my doing.’’
Sprague was scheduled to play Collier on Wednesday, but negotiated the contest to be moved to yesterday, because she played on a different green and there was a long period since her first match.
The conditions seemed to have taken its toll midway through the final, as Hands came from 2-7 down to lead 18-14 in the race to 25.
That was when the momentum swung again.
Sprague was holding two shots, but Hands’ last attempt on the end was too heavy and also removed her closest bowl to give her Rushworth opponent another shot before she drew a fourth to level the contest at 18.
A reenergised Sprague rarely wavered from near the kitty from that point, forcing Hands to turn aggressive, but the former surged 22-19 ahead.
Sprague finally dipped her high standard — even if it was only for one end — and Hands was ready to pounce.
She landed her first bowl on the kitty and kept adding to her tally — almost claiming four shots, but instead settling for a game-tying three.
But Sprague was back on target the next end, heaping the pressure on when she held two shots before Hands’ final bowl.
Hands was close, but her bowl travelled past to give Sprague the opportunity to draw a third shot and take out the title, which she duly did.
It was Hands’ first time in the Goulburn Valley Champion of Champions final. Her previous best was a quarter-final finish.
‘‘I’m a bit disappointed. It could have gone either way, but she held tight and I dropped three on the last end and I should never have done that,’’ Hands said.
‘‘She was just too good and held it together and I lost it in a couple of ends. I’m pleased with how I bowled over the two days.’’
Sprague said she was confident of performing well at the regional stage at Alexandra Bowls Club on March 3.
Voluntary work beckons for David Gawne after deciding to retire as a paramedic.
UPDATE: NSW Police have confirmed the body of a Warrnambool woman, 61, who went missing in the Murray River yesterday has been found.
Sixty years ago, March 5, 1954, was a red-letter day for Tatura, when Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the first reigning monarch to visit, came to town.
Echuca and Kyabram Fire Brigade will play in today's Goulburn Murray Cricket preliminary final.
Ritchie Aschenbrenner is exhibiting six years worth of paintings, covering a range of styles.
Kyabram's 69th annual rodeo takes place this Friday.
What was expected to be a long wait was anything but as young Seymour man gets heart transplant.
NSW signs historic Murray-Darling Basin Plan agreement.
The History of Tooborac group will be keen for gather more information about its photo collection when the publlic comes to look through its archives.
Three Cobram firefighters have returned safe from the toxic Morwell mine fire in Gippsland.
Gun Rams forward Ash Morris has signed with South Bendigo for the 2014 season and one day hopes to play VFL
Some VIP exotic animals spent the night at Shepparton Regional Saleyards on Wednesday night.
Discover unbelievable local deals from local businesses every week in the Goulburn and Murray Valley area with Leapon.com.au!
Search properties for sale or rent across North Central Victoria and Southern NSW. Visit your local website for local homes....
Search for published and unpublished photos from McPherson Media Group newspapers and magazines. All our photos are available to purchase.
Place an advertisement in any one of McPherson Media Group's local newspapers.