Caboolture local Alicia Melton has taken out the Kegel QLD Open in a fairy tale finish at her home centre in Queensland on the weekend.
The rollercoaster pathway to victory saw Alicia needing to endure a tiebreaker 1 game playoff to make the finals and then going unbeaten in the final stretch to claim victory.
Alicia Melton is a 41-year-old bowler based in Caboolture, Queensland. Coming from a bowling family with her maiden name being ‘Meads’, her brother is Brendan Meads who is a well-known bowler on the circuit and a previous two-time Kegel QLD Open champion.
Bowling since the age of six, Alicia is now happily married to her husband Shayne and has two children together in Katelin (Katy) and Connor with Katy already a member of the National Training Squad (NTS 18).
With the weekend’s victory, Alicia becomes the first female to win the Kegel QLD Open when run as an Open division event. TBA Hall of Famer Ann Maree Putney is also on the past champion winner list after winning the inaugural running of the 2011 Kegel QLD Open when it had both female and male divisions.
“I’m feeling absolutely ecstatic right now,” said Alicia.
“For me, winning the Kegel QLD Open has been a long time coming and I am truly excited and lost for words as I still can’t believe it happened.
“I am also very humbled to be the first lady to win this event since it has been running,” added Alicia.
When a ranked event runs at Caboolture Bowl & Mini Golf, Alicia is a name that you frequently see contending for the title. After claiming her first national title a decade ago winning the 2012 QLD Ladies Classic, Alicia has now added to her collection, but her game plan rarely changes.
“Every year I go out there and try my best and this year was no different,” explained Alicia.
“I struggled on day one and then I said to myself that I had nothing to lose and just went out there and made great shots and I would see how that went.
“I am one who doesn’t have a lot of self-belief in my ability as I have been told so many times that I am not good enough. This time around I thought I was throwing the ball a lot better than the day before, so I felt I was in with a chance,” added Alicia.
The first three stages of the event would see bowlers complete a total of 20 games (12, 4, and 4). In what may have been one of the closest Kegel QLD Open events ever seen, the last match of stage 3 saw 18 pins covering 9 bowlers in a fight to make the top eight finals system.
The eight finalists would compete in the McIntyre Final Eight system. The footy style finals system rewards the top four bowlers with double chances in the bracket-style format.
Entering the finals as the number one seed, was NTS Open bowler Adam Hayes who led all bowlers through each of the first three stages. The Victorian would average 218.5 by posting an impressive 4,369 over his 20 games, 7 pins ahead of his nearest challenger Bec Whiting who finished as the second seed. NSW bowler Rob Kendell impressed all weekend and entered the finals as the third seed ahead of defending champion and five-time event winner Jarrod Langford.
At the conclusion of the first three stages, Alicia would finish in equal eighth position, posting a score of 4,154. The tie required a nerve-racking playoff against Victorian Jayden Panella that Alicia would eventually overcome to kickstart an unbeaten run in the finals bracket.
Alicia would first defeat fifth seed Scott Robertson from NSW, then go on to defeat number one seed Adam Hayes who fell in straight sets that would see Alicia advance to the semi-finals.
The final four saw tight finishes in both semi-finals. The bowlers without the double chances would become the victors with Alicia defeating Bec Whiting 235-223 and ‘Brando’ Qualischefski ending Jarrod Langford’s stronghold on the event winning 217-212.
A nail-biting grand finale against a familiar opponent saw a tied game all the way to the 10th before Alicia would be crowned champion with a 225-218 victory.
“Brando and I have bowled against one another for many years and have a great history, so I knew it was going to be tough,” said Alicia.
“Throughout the final match I was trying to stay composed and just take it one shot at a time but that was difficult to do as I could see the result I had wanted for so long.
“Once the game was done, I was very emotional as this has been a lifelong dream to win this tournament as it is played in my home centre, so this is going to take a while to sink in,” explained Alicia.
Originally from Gympie, Alicia moved to Caboolture about 15 years ago and has been bowling at Caboolture Bowl for most of this time.
“I love bowling at Caboolture because you feel as if you are part of the family there,” said Alicia.
“Brian Bates and all the staff are wonderful and the atmosphere here is amazing. My ball driller runs a pro shop from Caboolture bowl and he and his wife are also amazing.
“I have enjoyed the many friendships I have made through bowling at Caboolture and have them for life,” added Alicia.
The always popular Kegel QLD Open would be a sell-out event in 2022. A wonderful result that delighted Caboolture Bowl proprietor and tournament director Brian Bates.
“I’m really happy with it considering the weather we had leading up to it,” said Bates.
“I wasn’t sure we would fill the event or even run it. We had water running in the back a week ago, we had plans to move if necessary but thankfully the water stopped, and we survived that.
“To have 108 bowlers fill it up is an amazing result. All the bowlers were fantastic with their continued support of the event this year.
“Our major sponsor Kegel has committed support for next year’s event so we can’t wait to return next year once again,” added Bates.
The next open division ranked event is the Australian Open which will run in conjunction with the women’s division event of the Vic 150 on the 15-17 April at Zone Bowling Frankston in Victoria. Click the events to find out more information.
Top 10 Performers After the First 3 Stages