Champs go down in tricky conditions
By BOB ANTHONY
IN tricky and contrasting weather conditions, 24 of Australasia's best men and women bowlers took to the greens in the opening round of one of Australia's richest bowls tournaments yesterday ? the Golden Nugget Invitational Prestige Singles.
The tournament, with prize money of more than $12,000 up for grabs, will run through to the finals on Thursday at Tweed Heads Bowls Club.
Yesterday saw defending champions Russell Meyer and Maria Rigby suffer big losses. Kiwi Meyer went down to last year's runner-up, Queenslander Nathan Rice 25-11, while Rigby was defeated by home-town favourite Carmen Anderson 25-17, much to the delight of the hardy crowd of spectators.
In other games yesterday, South Tweed's Kelvin Kerkow got his campaign off to a strong start with a 25-14 win over fellow Australian Commonwealth Games teammate Mark Casey.
Kerkow skipped out to a commanding 13-3 lead, but Casey fought back to make a game of it, before Kerkow showed the form which won him gold at the Games to take the match comfortably.
World champion and former South Tweed bowler Steve Glasson showed no mercy to Tasmania's Mark Strochnetter winning 25-13 in blustery conditions.
New Zealand's Gary Lawson salvaged some pride for the Kiwis, defeating South Australia's Gary Lawson in the closest match of the men's section, 25-22.
Victorian State Singles champion Barrie Lester, playing in his first Nugget, showed no sign of nerves and easily accounted for South Australia's Wayne Ruediger 25-8. Mark Caundle defeated Leif Selby 25-15.
In the ladies' section, Games Pairs gold medallist Lynsey Armitage had too much experience for Melanie Macaulay, from NSW, winning by the biggest margin of the day, 25-9. Riina Bradbrook downed Claire Duke 25-17, Mary Ann Canute defeated Sophie Fletcher 25-14 and Karen Murphy was too strong for Julie Keegan 25-17.
In the closest match of the women's section, wildcard entrant Cerrian Davies outlasted Queensland singles champion Gail Waitai to score an upset 25-24 win in an enthralling three-hour marathon.
In tomorrow's second round, starting at 9.30am, Kerkow meets Scott Caundle, Glasson meets Meyer and Karen Murphy will play Cerriann Davies. Round three of the Golden Nugget will commence at 1.30pm.
Results are progressively updated on the Tweed Heads Bowls Club web site www.thbc.com.au