Triple treat

Benalla Ensign - - Motorsport Motorsport - By Ge­or­gia Smith

Be­nalla bowlers have proved they can roll with the best of them.

The Steller Vic­to­rian Open sent a bowl­ing frenzy through­out the Goul­burn Val­ley, with lo­cal greens ex­perts ris­ing to the chal­lenge.

Be­nalla Bowls Club coach and co­or­di­na­tor Matt Robert­son went all the way in the Men’s Triples on Thurs­day, tak­ing the top prize along­side team­mates Rus­sell Locke of Kyabram and Mitch Side­bot­tom of South Bendigo.

In a true display of Goul­burn Val­ley tal­ent, the trio bat­tled it out against Brett Wright of Ba­rooga Sports and Brett Gun­ning and David Daws of Shep­par­ton Golf.

It pro­vided all of the close­ness you would ex­pect from a high­stan­dard bowls fi­nal, with lo­cal bowls spe­cial­ist Robert­son and his men claim­ing a four-shot win, 16-12.

Robert­son said it was a great ex­pe­ri­ence just to be out play­ing in the tour­na­ment.

‘‘You al­ways think you have a chance, but af­ter hav­ing back surgery in May, I was pretty happy just to be play­ing bowls,’’ Robert­son said.

How­ever, Robert­son is no stranger to per­form­ing well at the event, hav­ing made the triples fi­nals three times with team­mate Locke, as well as post­ing im­pres­sive re­sults in the mixed and sin­gles cat­e­gories dur­ing the years — mak­ing the mens sin­gles semi-fi­nals in 2017.

‘‘I have been used to get­ting through in some­thing, but it was great to go all the way,’’ Robert­son said.

The Be­nalla bowls pow­er­house also showed tal­ent from the side­lines while com­men­tat­ing games, some­thing he said he has al­ready been booked in to do again next year.

‘‘I put my Den­nis Cometti shoes on to com­men­tate three games,’’ he said.

‘‘It was nice to vol­un­teer and give back to Bowls Vic­to­ria who pro­duced the event.

‘‘I would also like to thank the Be­nalla Bowls Club for giv­ing me the op­por­tu­nity to rep­re­sent them in what is fast be­com­ing a pres­ti­gious event.’’

Be­nalla prod­uct Kerri Leask also stood out dur­ing the Vic Open, mak­ing it to the Women’s Pairs semi-fi­nal at the Shep­par­ton Park Bowls Club on Thurs­day.

Along­side daugh­ter-in-law Stacey Col­lier of Mooroopna, Leask was knocked out of the semis by a mere point to op­po­nents from Yackan­dan­dah and Moama.

Leask said she was stoked to make it as far as the semi-fi­nals, and although the small mar­gin loss was dis­ap­point­ing, it was spe­cial none­the­less to take to the greens as a fam­ily duo.

‘‘Be­ing fam­ily makes spe­cial,’’ Leask said.

‘‘One al­ways hopes to do well, but ev­ery game you win is an ab­so­lute bonus.’’

Lo­cal 16-year-old bowls guru Tyson Cromie showed the men age was no bar­rier out on the it more rinks, mak­ing it to the quar­ter fi­nals of the Men’s Pairs.

Cromie played along­side Grant McLaren of Co­lac, miss­ing out on a semi-fi­nals spot as their op­po­nents dou­bled their score.

The eight days of play for the Steller Vic­to­rian Open wrapped up on Fri­day, but Robert­son’s vic­tory re­mains for all to see with cov­er­age of the game still avail­able on the Bowls Vic­to­ria Web­site.

Thrilled: Be­nalla’s Matt Robert­son with Rus­sell Locke of Kyabram and Mitch Side­bot­tom of South Bendigo cel­e­brat­ing win­ning the Men’s Triple fi­nal in the Steller Vic­to­rian Open on Thurs­day. Pic­ture: Bowls Vic­to­ria

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