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