A last gasp final round has seen the Victoria trio of Bradley Down, Tim Toomey and Richard Corry claim the silverware at the National Club Championship Triples. Hosted at the Browns Bay Bowling Club in the North Harbour, play got underway for day two of the triples, with all eyes on the Wellington representatives returning as overnight leaders.
A strong opening win opposite Southland’s Lyall Spencer and Co saw the Down trio all but secure the trophy – though with the Burnside line-up of Mike Small, Richard Hocking and Barry Williams breathing down their necks in second place – a mathematical chance forced the final round to go ahead.
With a superior differential of +36 heading into the last fixture, the Victoria side could afford a loss within 13 points – a theory so nearly tested as Small stormed out to a comfortable win, amassing a 24-11 victory and falling agonisingly short of the title by a solitary point.
Breathing a sigh of relief, Victoria realised they had done enough, with Small, Hocking and Williams finishing runner-up – one game ahead of Palmerston North’s Graeme Cooley and two games ahead of the heroic Kaeo trio, who, despite having only 12 members, had earlier defeated Burnside.
Victoria were unbeaten on day one, getting off to a strong start in the opening round. However, the Victoria trio skipped by Down found themselves in very different territory in the second fixture, trailing 11-0 after six ends opposite Palmerston North’s Graeme Cooley, Dean Gilshnan and Ray Boffa – though a spirited fightback saw them draw level at 15-15 heading into the final end.
Holding their nerve right to the last bowl, a single on the final end was enough to secure an impressive comeback, with their efforts clearly spurring them on to a round three victory against the Hinuera side of Gerard Slattery, Paul Casey Jnr and Paul Casey Snr, 21-8.
This was a first national title for all three although Rich and Brad were also part of the winning Wellington mens intercentre team last month.
The win now gives Victoria an almost unassailable lead in the Wellington mens club of the year standings. Stokes Valley need to win both the NZ Club Fours and the Wellington Champ of Champ Pairs to have a chance.