This year’s Drakes Pride August triples have been claimed by Wagga Rules skip Peter Watts.
Watts and his team of 18-year-old Narooma sensation Jay Bruest and 19-year-old Melbournian Brad Griffiths were the only undefeated trio by tournaments end.
As is so often the case in regional events such as those conducted at Merimbula, this year’s winners took the opportunity to have a game together using Merimbula as the meeting place.
With the trio having never played competition bowls together before, the compatibility seemed apparent from the outset.
The squad burst out of the gates on day one recording a 26-6 victory to assume top position from the start.
Canberra’s Ian Wybrow also made a solid start to the competition recording a 32-12 victory to start proceedings at the top end of the leader board along.
Pre-tournament favourites Boris Schneider, Jack Boom and Don Angel started with a solid 17-9 win.
With the greens speeding up through the morning many of the field were tested over the remainder of the day. With touch bowling required to achieve successful results, local bowlers started to make their presence felt.
Leading the local teams were Tura Beach’s Larry Seely, Jeff Martin and Gerd Jacobsen who, after a solid morning win, managed a gritty four-shot victory in the second round followed by a comfortable nine-shot win in the last round.
Watts finished with two more solid wins to record a clean sheet and a 34-shot margin for the day.
Merimbula’s Boris Schneider teamed with his Weston Creek team-mates also remained unscathed to hold onto second position.
Another local team headed by Ray Fox and Ian Beveridge managed to remain as the only other undefeated team.
Day two provided perfect bowls conditions with the greens in pristine shape it was again Watts and his youthful counterparts that controlled the day.
Despite a slight scare in the second game of the day the trio again managed to secure their three wins, adding a further 29 shots to their margin.
The rest of the field had mixed results with each team dropping at least one game.
Despite losing in their last game, Gerd Jacobsen managed to hang onto second position with two wins for the day.
Third position down to sixth position was a close call with all four teams having four and a half victories from the six rounds with only 11 shots separating them all.
At the top of this group was Schneider, who despite only winning one game for the day had managed to hold ground along with Lakes Entrance’s Dave Stevenson, who had climbed seven positions to be hot on Schneider’s heels.
Rain threatened to intervene on the third day of play.
With only light drizzle falling at the scheduled start, play got underway and the weather held back - for a time.
With tournament leader Watts comfortably in front in his game, it was looking like the minor placings were where the contest was going to get interesting.
In what could have potentially dropped Jacobsen and his Tura Beach team out of the money, the trio found themselves behind at the halfway mark, but just as theirs, and a number of other games, were getting interesting the heavens opened, forcing tournament organisers to abandon the remainder of the event.
With the day two leader board unchanged it was Watts, Bruest and Griffiths that were crowned 2014 champions with six wins and 63 shots up.
Runners up were the Tura trio of Jacobsen, Martin and Seely with Merimbula skip Boris Schneider leading his Weston Creek team of Jack Boom and Don Angel to round out the podium.
Organisers said the event was successful with teams visiting from far and wide including Yass, North Albury, South Oakleigh and a number of Gippsland clubs that have been regular attendees at this event.
This now puts an end to the 2014 invitational events at Club Sapphire Merimbula with the 2015 season set to kick off with the Fortune Fours in April.
This year has again seen hundreds of keen bowlers travel to the region providing great exposure for our local bowls community along with a strong flow of extra tourism to Merimbula.