Holland the queen again
MAXINE Holland of Yamba has again taken out the Clarence River District women’s bowls singles championship.
Since 1996, Maxine has won the district singles crown eight times and been runner-up on three occasions.
Demonstrating why she is considered one of the best singles players the district has produced, Maxine played outstanding bowls in the final against a gallant Jean Harrop of Iluka.
Both players made a tentative start to the final, played at Iluka last Thursday in cool, windy conditions. But Jean settled into her rhythm quickly and by the sixth end had set up a handy 7-2 lead through some lovely draw bowling.
But Maxine then began grouping shots and playing delicate weight to string together 10 consecutive winning ends for a 20-7 lead. The precision of some of her shots was delightful to witness and, despite playing some fine bowls herself, Jean could not stem the flow. Jean was close but Maxine was closer.
Jean played a lovely resting toucher with her final bowl on the 17th end to get the board ticking over again but Maxine maintained her composure despite strong play from Jean.
Some of Maxine’s trademark shots came on the final end.
When she needed two for the game, she drew the shot with her first bowl then trailed it a little with her second to make two, then played covering bowls. Typical of Jean’s afternoon, her controlled weight shots rocked Maxine’s shot bowl but did not dislodge it. Maxine ran out a comfortable winner 31-10.
The semi-finals in the morning were close encounters.
Jean was up against relatively new bowler Maureen Grimes of Maclean.
It was a game in which Jean seemed in control but Maureen was very tenacious and appeared to gain confidence as the game progressed. Scores were level 6-all after nine ends when Jean held three, but Maureen drew the shot with her last bowl.
From there, Jean played the more consistent bowls but Maureen kept coming back at her and after being down 14-8 after 14 ends, scored on the next four to peg it back to 14-13.
The ends then became tighter and both players put down some top bowls. But Jean dug deep and opened up what turned out to be a match-winning break with nine shots in three ends for a 25-15 scoreline.
Maureen toughed it out to get it back to 20-25 with some delicate draw bowls. From here, Jean played stronger, more consistent bowls, getting multiple bowls in the head to take the game 31-23.
Maxine played another Maclean player Liz Skinner in a real battle between two experienced players.
Liz adapted more readily to the conditions and took a handy 7-1 lead after five ends. Maxine consistently had bowls close but Liz was right on her game and was out-drawing her opponent. A four to Maxine on the sixth bridged the gap. She trailed the jack for two shots and then drew two more.
Maxine controlled the game until the 18th end, keeping constant pressure on Liz to save shots, opening up a 21-11 lead. But on the 19th, Liz came up with a terrific draw when two down to gain control of the mat again.
Then she was able to vary the length of the ends and had some success in disrupting Maxine’s rhythm, eventually drawing level 24-all on the 24th. Then came the crucial end. Liz had played well to hold four shots (and a potential 28-24 lead). Maxine calmly summed up the situation and played an exquisite shot to sit the shot bowl and take one for a 24-23 scoreline.
Maxine was then able to finish off in style 31-24 but what a tussle!
Special commendation goes to Maureen and Liz who emerged from the field of 42 to make the semis against the two very experienced and talented finalists.