AMID the cheers of a vocal Orange City Bowling Club crowd, Orange bowlers Lee Stinson and Steve Carr produced a stunning come-from-behind victory over Local Bloke Removals Golden Eagle Pairs Classic wildcard quarter-finalists Neil Burkett and Michael Clarke, of Merrylands.
Despite losing their final section six game to Mick Djatschenko and Steve Galvin, Commonwealth Games gold medal-winning bowler Burkett and Clarke went into the final eight game odds-on favourites, and nothing had changed come the 18th end.
With the Merrylands pairing two shots ahead and full of momentum, the crowd could have been forgiven for considering Stinson and Carr’s tournament as good as over.
However in the penultimate end Stinson produced two clutch rolls to push his team within one point of their opponents.
The equation was simple, with one end remaining the Orange pairing needed to produce at least a plus two win to progress to the semi-finals.
Two almost perfect rolls from Carr left the pairing plus two up, before Stinson delivered the shot of the day, leaving his bowl within inches of the jack to push the end lead to three.
Despite a valiant final roll from Burkett, Stinson and Carr took a plus two final end win to secure a 19-18 overall victory, and progression to today’s semi-final.
The win capped an incredible day of bowls in which the three other competition front runners delivered exactly what was expected of them.
After Djatschenko and Galvin overcame Burkett and Clarke in the morning, the ever-consistent pairing defeated Bathurst’s John Archer and Phil Gray in their quarter-final.
2013 Eagle champions Glen Raymond and Phil Westcott tidily dispatched Warilla pairing Robert Allen and Simon Colvin in their final section three match-up, before accounting for another Warilla team in Jamie Mitchell and Geoff McGillivray.
Orange father-son duo Paul and Michael Davis progressed from section one, and despite a gutsy effort, went down to world number two Jeremy Henry and Jared Hamilton, who took the match in a comfortable nine-shot victory.
“We actually had a bit of a scare there,” Henry said.
“We started slowly and they played pretty well. I think in the end experience got us home.”
Henry and Hamilton play Raymond and Westcott in today’s first semi-final, with Stinson and Carr taking on Djatschenko and Galvin in the second.
The two winners then play-off in the grand final.