Sue Cassell and Tony Hamilton have won the first senior ranked event for 2020 by being crowned champions of the Hammer Queensland Seniors Classic on the weekend at Caboolture Bowl & Mini Golf.
A total of 115 registered bowlers packed the 18 lane centre in Queensland. The first of five senior ranked events ran for the 16th time with $17,835 in prizemoney on offer for senior and grand senior divisions.
The first senior tournament of the ranking calendar always proves to be a popular one within the senior bowling community.
“It’s at the mecca of bowling in Queensland, Caboolture Bowl” explained Tony Hamilton. “Batesy and his crew do a great job and then we have the tremendous effort that Carol and Lawrie “Animal “Hill put in organising this event. Also it has wonderful sponsors, but most of all it’s the bowlers that come from near and far to compete”.
The format, a straight forward one. All participants would bowl a total of 18 games in two separate appearances (10 and 8 games). The large number of entrants this year forcing a creation of a D squad equalling 4 squads for the tournament.
At the conclusion of the first ten games Shaun Cummings would lead the pack of 73 male entrants. Cummings would end the session with the highest pinfall of 2,386 averaging 238.6 over the 10 games. 45 pins behind was 2019 Hammer Seniors Classic champion, Tony Hamilton.
TBA Hall of Famer Sue Cassell would lead the ladies after ten with a 2,122 pinfall and an average of 212.2. Sitting in second place and four pins behind the leader was previous event champion Julie Harrison. Winning in 2018 and 2019, Harrison would be aiming for her third title in a row. A feat that was last accomplished by Christine Clark in 2016.
All competitors hit the lanes for their second appearance of 8 games to find our first senior champions for 2020.
Shaun Cummings would struggle out of the gate with a 167 game to start proceedings for the last eight games. The bowler from NSW would bowl 179 in the third and 178 in the fifth game to leave the door open for movement of positions. The slip would cost Cummings, who would ultimately finish in 5th position.
The defending champion Hamilton had no troubles in his first game. The Queenslander would bowl a 269 stating his intentions of going back to back. Hamilton would bookend his eight game second appearance with a 277 that would hand the Aspley based bowler with back to back titles.
“Unbelievable!” described Hamilton. “I had a plan to be in contention after the completion Day 1. Day 2 was to repeat my consistency of Day 1. After a great start and taking the lead I was finding myself getting ahead of myself and lost some momentum”.
Hamilton would remain patient and regathered himself to end the day with an impressive 1037 pinfall in the last 4 games.
“The last 4 games was how I think all bowlers would like to finish a tournament. I hit the reset button. Made a small move left with my feet and target and I was back in the groove” said Hamilton.
A total pinfall of 4,209 and average of 233.8 helped Hamilton gain 148 pins more than the runner up. The high scores testament to his game plan and focus on being patient. “I spared well and kept my errors to a minimum”.
Runner up for the male division was Warren Stewart. The Victorian based Australian representative would start off with a shaky 148 game but composed himself to return with a bang by averaging 239.7 over the next seven to claim back to back runner up placings in the event. In third place would be 2019 TBA Senior Cup winner, Andrew Lloyd with a 4,023 pinfall.
Terry Wenban would finish in fourth place with 4,002 and an average of 222.3. The performance enough to give Wenban the Grand Senior title. In second place for the Grand Seniors was David Farquharson who got the bowl talking with his third game, an event high game of 299.
For Hamilton the win is only the beginning of a large list of goals for the Queenslander.
“Competing in as many events as possible plus hopefully representing this great state again at Senior and ATBSO Nationals. Hopefully my performances throughout the year lead to bigger things” said Hamilton.
Last years event saw Cassell finish runner up to Harrison who claimed back to back titles. This year the results would flip. Sue Cassell would maintain her first appearance first place with a total pinfall of 3,717 and an average of 206.5 to claim the 2020 title for the ladies.
Inducted in the Hall of Fame in 2012, Cassell has an extensive list of achievements in the sport. An involvement that spans many years. Extensive state representation and success, national selection and success involving winning 3 x Gold medals, 2 x silver and 2 bronze in international competition saw the Hall of Famer being named the World Bowler of the Year by the World Bowling writers association in 1990.
After taking a break from the sport, Cassell is back on the lanes and has been reinstated to the national senior training squad. A big year ahead on the lanes may see a return in the green and gold next year with the World Senior Championships set to commence.
Defending champion Julie Harrison would bowl two sub 170 games in her last eight to make it hard to catch Cassell for the title but would maintain her second placing. It was still enough to claim the Grand Senior Division with the Queenslander averaging 202.8 for the event. Victorian Robyn Flynn would finish in third place with a 3,517 and average of 195.4.
The next senior ranked event will head to ZONE BOWLING Keon Park in Victoria with the John Sullivan Seniors Australian Open.
Full results of the tournament can be found here
Additional coverage and chat about the Hammer Queensland Seniors Classic can be found on their facebook page here
TBA thank Lyn Fletcher from Living & Loving Photography for the pictures of the event!