Rebekah Martin has been crowned champion of the 24th annual Queensland Ladies Classic on the weekend at Caboolture Bowl & Mini Golf in Queensland.
After a strong start to season 2023 with multiple top 5 finishes, the Victorian secured the second Queensland Ladies Classic title of her career after defeating Emma Walsh in the final 214-189.
“I’m absolutely thrilled,” explained Martin following the win “It hasn’t sunk in yet as we cut it fine with our flight home, so we made a dash out of the bowl”.
Winning the event in 2016, Martin would ironically be matched up against the 2015 champion Emma Walsh for the 2023 crown. With 7 years between titles, this victory felt different.
“Em and I spoke about the match-up again this year,” said Martin.
“The format was different back then as it was an accumulation of pinfall rather than match wins.
“I remember having to be told last time I had done enough for the win whereas this time I could see it on the scoreboard in front of me” added Martin on the differences from the victories that span 8 years.
Bowlers would complete eight games of qualifying on Saturday to kick off the event. Local bowler Alicia Melton led the field after day one averaging an incredible 230.9 over her first eight games. A triplet of Bec’s would follow with Rebekah Martin, Rebecca Whiting, and Rebekah Commane finishing close behind.
Day two would give bowlers another chance to move into the top 16 with six more games to make the cut to advance to stage two. Once the sixteen was set, bowlers would bowl four more games to qualify for the top eight ‘footy-style’ finals bracket.
Always a threat at her home bowl, Melton would maintain her lead throughout and claim the number one seed heading into the bracket. A previous Kegel QLD Open champion, Melton would finish on an 18-game total of 4,028 with an impressive average of 223.8 providing her a chance to claim yet another Caboolture-hosted title.
The triplet of Bec’s would make the final eight along with rising star Emily Bottomley, 2021 champion Bianca Flanagan, Jenny Notman, and Emma Walsh. For Martin, consistent bowling and a number three seed were exactly what she hoped for heading into the event.
“Training last weekend help a lot,” explained Martin.
“Choosing the best arsenal for what we expected and filling a gap in my bag I knew I had, worked extremely well.
“These decisions are not made on my own and thankful to Bec Whiting to be able to bounce things off each other. Knowing your gear is crucial and I’m feeling more confident about that side of things. The goal was to keep myself in contention and then reassess if I made the top 8 and then the top 4 to get a second chance. It was up to me to just bowl the best I could” added Martin.
The footy finals style bracket would see the top four bowlers matched up against each other in the qualifying finals. Alicia Melton would defeat Bottomley 247-198 to get an express ticket to the preliminary finals while a nail-biter between good friends Rebekah Martin and Bec Whiting would see Martin snatch a one-pin win 233-232 for the other express ticket.
“Honestly luck fell my way that game,” explained Martin. “We both bowled a great game and it’s never a nice way to win/lose a match. I did say sorry to her because I know how it feels to be on the receiving end of your opponent getting lucky and even harder when it’s your best mate”.
Things did not improve for Bec Whiting as she was eliminated from the event in the next matchup against Emma Walsh 266-168. Bianca Flanagan would defeat Emily Bottomley 251-230 to cement the final four bowlers.
Emma Walsh would cause the upset of the tournament when matched up against number one seed Alicia Melton. With her family cheering on every delivery, Walsh would eliminate the number one seed defeating Melton 216-207. In the other final, Bek Martin would defeat Flanagan 257-179 to set up the grand final between lifetime competitors.
“Fierce is the best way to describe Em,” said Martin. “We bowled juniors together and I have the most respect for her. I know how well she can bowl so I had to play the best I could and let fate decide the winner” added Martin.
Defeating Walsh 214-189 in the final was a dream come true for the Victorian. A long-time participant and now a two-time champion of the event, Martin is well-equipped to hand down advice for the young stars on the rise that competed at the event.
“Two-time champion of this event is something I would have only dreamed about” explained Martin.
“For years I have looked at those past winners and held so much respect and admiration for them as the event has such a rich history.
“My first classic was approximately 10 years ago so I was a late bloomer to the event. My advice would be to stay patient for anyone that competed for the first time. Take in the experience from others and learn” added Martin.
Always her number-one fan, partner Adam Hayes was on a video call to be one of the first to congratulate the champion.
“Adam plays so many roles in my life” explained Martin. “A loving partner, biggest supporter, coach, sounding board, the voice of reason. I know 100% that if it weren’t for his own successes inspiring me and his help, I wouldn’t have the success I have had”.
The next Women’s division ranked event is the Australian Masters at the 2023 Australian National Championships in Hobart from 28 June – 1 July. The Melbourne Tenpin Cup is the next open event on the calendar with entries open now.
- Total pinfall: 4,484 (21 games including finals bracket scores)
- Average: 213.53
- High Game: 279 – day two – fifth game
- Tournament Game Scores
- Qualifying – 179, 235, 239, 224, 222, 183, 169, 236 – 1,687
- Day two – 231, 204, 197, 199, 279, 200 – 1,310
- Stage two – 168, 194, 193, 228
- Finals Bracket – 233 (W), 257 (W), 214 (W)
High Game – Bek Martin 279
Top performances for each day/stage:
- Qualifying – Alicia Melton – 248, 248, 212, 205, 246, 235, 258, 195 – 1,847
- Day two – Alicia Melton – 190, 156, 211, 278, 251, 225 – 1,311
- Stage Two – Angela Fan – 200, 202, 248, 231 – 881
Top 8 Queensland Ladies Classic Finals Qualifiers (following stage two prior to the finals bracket)
- Alicia Melton – 4,028
- Bec Whiting – 3,826
- Bek Martin – 3,780
- Emily Bottomley – 3,606
- Bianca Flanagan – 3,594
- Jenny Notman – 3,566
- Emma Walsh – 3,550
- Rebekah Commane – 3,528