An absolutely stunning spring day was turned on by the weather gods for the 2018 SA Super League Grand Final.
The day began with the crowning of the 2018 Andrew Smith Medallist for the player judged the best player throughout the minor rounds of the competition.
This award was claimed by 14-year-old prodigy Nathan Black from the South Eastern Spartans who received nine more votes than equal 2nd place getters Adrian Green from the Central Chargers and Ashley Halls from the Heysen Comets.
2018 Andrew Smith Medallist for the Best Player scores
After the presentation, the crowd rocked to the Rock ‘n’ Roll band Buddies Four band and enjoyed some spectator competitions, while the children lined up for some face-painting before it was time for the deciding match: the 2018 SA Super Grand Final between the South Eastern Spartans and Heysen Comets.
The South Eastern Spartans went in with an unchanged line-up from their successful semi-final victory over the Comets with Blake Fiebig in the Singles, Nathan Black and Tyson Wilson in the Pairs and Scott Binns, Tony Devlin and Ken Holtham in the Triples.
The Comets line up consisted of Ashley Halls in the Singles, Ben Harris and James Gregory in the Pairs and Damon Edmunds, Josh Chopin and Scott Thulborn in the Triples.
The first third of the game saw the Heysen Comets open an early lead predominantly thanks to some great play from Ashley Halls in the Singles.
Halls led 12-1 after 7 ends, whilst the Triples were locked away at 6-6, and the dynamic duo of Nathan Black and Tyson Wilson for the Spartans were keeping their side in the contest early with a 12-3 lead.
The Spartans started inching their way into the game over the middle third as the overall lead went back and forth several times to showcase what a truly fantastic final this was.
Fiebig fired back in the Singles claiming seven consecutive ends to close the gap to 13-17 behind Halls after 16 ends. The Pairs combination of Black and Wilson continued to soldier on and further increased their lead 21-9 with some dynamic bowling from both players but, in particular, the Triples continued to be evenly matched, with all players putting down great bowls while the Comets held a slender 16-13 lead.
The run home was thrilling and impossible to call the winner at this stage.
The Singles match finished with the Heysen Comets Ashley Halls recording a victory 22-13 over Fiebig, including a pivotal Super End on his final end as he scored two shots, which doubled to four and placed the Comets in a strong position.
The Pairs played out a dramatic final few ends, highlighted by the final end where the shot changed several times.
On this game’s menu for spectator pleasure was a mixture of great draw bowls, drives and conversion shots. With the South Eastern Spartans playing a Super End, they were one down with just one Tyson Wilson bowl to come, when the young skip stood up and calmly ran the jack into the ditch for two shots, which doubled to four to claim a 28-14 victory for the Spartans over Harris and Gregory.
This left the fate of the competition in the hands of the triples with the Comets holding a one-shot lead on the overall scoreboard with two ends remaining. The game was set up for a hero and it found one in Heysen Comets player Josh Chopin.
Chopin drew two shots on the penultimate end and with a further shot added by Thulborn, the Comets took three shots and headed into the last with a 58-54 lead on the overall scoreboard.
The Spartans triple had a final Super End which they deployed on the final end, so a score of two shots of a possible six was all they required to send the game into extra ends.
After the lead’s bowls, it was advantage Spartans but Chopin again stood up and drew a bowl right onto the front of the jack. After Thulborn went for cover and Holtham was unable to change the head for the Spartans, the Comets shot remained.
This saw them record a 24-13 triples victory and a 60-54 overall victory to take the 2018 SA Super League champions title.
Coach Scott Hocking was ecstatic with his team’s effort throughout the season and payed homage to Coach Deanna Amos and her Spartans outfit on a successful season also. Tyson Wilson from the South Eastern Spartans was awarded the medal for the player adjudged ‘Best on Green’ for the Grand Final.
Wrapping up a successful 2018 SA Super League, Bowls SA want to thank all involved for their support, including major sponsors City of Salisbury, Sport Centre and Lion. A big thank you goes out to all volunteers including officials, commentators and members of the Salisbury Bowling Club for their efforts in running a smooth competition. We look forward to a bigger and better 2019 SA Super League coming soon.
Article and images: Bowls SA