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Burton finish a thriller

Result in doubt until last round of pairs games in classic format

Sport doesn't get any more dramatic than yesterday's finish to the Burton Cup Classic bowls tournament at the Gisborne Bowling Club.

Front-runners Jamey Ferris (skip), Mick Maunder, Tanya Harrison and Ricky Miller needed to win at least one of their two final-round 2-4-2 pairs clashes to prevent a fast-finishing Arthur Hawes (skip), Mal Trowell, David Beattie and Lyn Trueman from snatching the cup with two last-round wins.

It looked a pretty unlikely scenario but with the two Ferris combinations trailing in the closing stages of their games and the Hawes combos in front coming down the stretch in their clashes it was a distinct possibility.

With two wins safely in the bag it was “advantage Hawes”.

Meanwhile, Ferris and partner Maunder had a fight on their hands. They went blow for blow with Vern Marshall and Ben Elkington before coming from behind to snatch a 10-9 last-end win, not knowing that teammates Tanya Harrison and Ricky Miller had just secured the cup with a 9-8 win against their out-of-contention opponents.

Harrison probably played the shot of the tournament when, two up on the scoreboard but four down on the head in the penultimate end, her only option was to drive to save a desperate situation. Her first attempt missed but a perfect last bowl picked up the jack and followed it into the ditch. It clinched the cup.

Although tested at times, the Ferris four dropped only one of the eight games played over the six rounds of the contest. They finished with 56 points from the maximum 60 available.

Ten points were available for each of the six rounds — 10 for fours, six for triples, five for pairs and four for singles.

Round 1 involved one bowler playing singles and the other three, triples. The singles game was worth four points and the triples, six, giving 10 points for the round.

For Round 2 the four split into two pairs (two games) worth five points each game for a total of 10.

Round 3 was fours, worth 10 points. The next day that formula was repeated, but in a different order. The day started with fours, then singles and triples, and wound up with the two games of pairs.

Kawerau's Marcus Merrick (skip), Tony and Brent Mitchell with Te Karaka's Sarah Brown matched Ferris on Saturday. The two teams were tied on 26 points apiece going into Day 2 but the Merrick challenge ended when they dropped their first game, and 10 points, yesterday.

Two further losses meant they faded into sixth place at the end of the day with 34 points and a minus-8 points differential.

The Hawes team lost two games on Saturday but roared home unbeaten yesterday to pick up the runners-up Makauri Cup with 49 points.

Six teams shared the $3000 prize money in the Eastland Group-sponsored tournament, the glamour event on the Gisborne-East Coast bowling calendar.

Paul Harrison (skip), Vern Withey, Bev Rogers and first-year bowler Geoff Pinn had a strong tournament. They finished third on 45 points.

Next came Bob McIlroy (skip), Charlie Ure, Dayvinia Mills and a teenaged Angela Gibson-Sam on 37 points.

Fifth, and in the money again after also collecting last year, were George (skip) and Anita Vaotuua with Steve and Cheryl Jenkins. They matched Merrick's 34 points but had a superior plus-2 diff.

TRIUMPHANT: Burton Cup winners (from left) skip Jamey Ferris, Mick Maunder, Tanya Harrison and Ricky Miller with the trophy. Picture by Paul Rickard