Rival skips, John Bradley (North Beach) and Ernie Hodges (Urunga) before the triples final at Dorrigo. Photos submitted
Rival skips, John Bradley (North Beach) and Ernie Hodges (Urunga) before the triples final at Dorrigo. Photos submitted

North Beach triples treat


NORTH Beach bowler John Bradley finally broke through after years of being the bridesmaid in the annual Dorrigo Classic Triples.

Teams travelled from as far north as Woolgoolga and as far south as Urunga as well as one entrant in a composite team all the way from Tamworth.

After finishing runner up twice in succession it appeared that 2005 was once again not going to be Bradley's year, losing the middle game on the Saturday to local favourite Chris Habgood.

However, with only three sections of four competing this year, a wildcard was issued to the next best performed team not winning their section, Bradley's side claiming this with two solid wins from their other sectional matches.

A tough ask considering the gusty wind conditions.

Bradley joined Habgood, last year's defending champions from Park Beach skippered by Don Wood, and a composite team led by Ernie Hodges of Urunga.

The semi finals began in slightly calmer conditions on Sunday morning with Bradley against reigning champion Wood and Hodges playing Habgood.

Bradley's boys started strongly, racing to a 13-2 lead before Wood and company began their fight back.

The sides were locked in a battle with only a handful of ends remaining before Bradley kicked clear to book his place in the final.

The other semi in contrast was neck and neck from the beginning with Hodges gaining the upper hand in the dying stages to sneak through to the final, defeating the local hope.

With the wind dropping in the afternoon the stage was set for a tense final.

With Bradley's team of Barney Woodward and Brett McDonnell no strangers to the Dorrigo greens they went in as slight favourites, backing this up with a five shot score on the opening end.

Any thoughts that this would be a one-sided final were quickly removed however as Hodges team comprising of Will Sharkey and Gary Johnston toughed out the next few ends to decrease the margin to just two shots on the ninth end.

From here the math became a game of cat and mouse with Bradley unable to shake Hodges and nor was Hodges able to take the lead.

The 17th end however became a turning point with Hodges taking leadership 16 to 13 on the 17th end.

With only four ends remaining Bradley and side rose to the occasion, fighting back to take a one shot lead into the last.

Down two shots at the head, Hodges was left with no alternative but to drive, with the result being only one of the shots removed, Bradley and side victorious by two and claiming over eight hundred dollars in prize money for the team.

The remaining eight teams competed in a consolation event, taken out by Graham Richardson's North Beach side.

The success of the event must be credited to newly elected president of Dorrigo Bowling Club Merv Dark, and to green keeper Chris Habgood, who had the greens running at a nice speed all weekend despite the windy conditions.

Organisers are already looking to next year where they will assess the success of this year's event and if possible make improvements to an already successful format.

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