So close for eXtreme

Melbourne eXtreme (Bowls Australia)

Tara Murray

Club Sunbury-based Melbourne eXtreme fell agonisingly short of its first Bowls Premier League title.

eXtreme produced a stunning week at Pine Rivers to win through to its second grand final, in the 18th edition of the event.

It took some brilliant work from the Tweed Heads Ospreys late in the deciding tie breaker, to win a record equalling fourth title.

The eXtreme team of Matt Flapper, Kylie Whitehead and Ali Forsyth jumped out of the blocks in the grand final, winning the first set, 6-4.

Tweed was behind with an end to play in the second, but all it needed was a single on a powerplay to send the contest to a deciding tiebreak.

The two-bowl triples extravaganza was shot-for-shot, with Corey Wedlock managing to send the jack to the ditch before Forsyth gained the ascendancy back.

Aaron Teys nailed his length to force his opposing skip to use weight in an attempt to try and remove the Tweed bowl and seal the win.

A centimetre was all that separated Forsyth from glory, but it was the Ospreys who got the win.

eXtreme team manager Marc Bullows said there were so many positives out for the event.

“We might have lost the grand final but I felt we were the best team all tournament,” he said.

“Ali missing a shot by the closest of margins for us to win the grand final just shows what a cruel game bowls can be.

“I’m proud of our team and can’t wait for the next BPL in February which we will go in with an unchanged line up.

“All of Club Sunbury are proud of what they accomplished and how they represented the brand.”

Whitehead was named the best female player of the tournament in her first time playing.

Bullows said Whitehead slotted into the side perfectly, not only in performance but with her bubbly personality which was a perfect fit for the team.

He also had high praise for Forsyth, Flapper and coach Kelvin Kerkow.

“Ali was named Mr BPL when he won this comp years back and this week was a perfect example on why he earned this name,” Bullows said.

“Playing some huge and what seemed impossible shots to get us through to secure top two spot, it was like just sit back and watch the Ali show,” he said.

“Matt was amazing. He played whatever role he was given and did it well. His selfless acts of staying on the bench at his request when the other team members were playing well was a true sign of a natural leader and team player.

“Kelvin Kerkow, his encouragement as coach on and off the green was a true testament to his personality and experience.”

It was a big week for Club Sunbury at Pine Rivers, with a Club Sunbury side one of 12 teams from across Australia in the BPL Cup.

The team of Mark Cowan, Bullows and Lee Wesley narrowly missed out on finals, falling one net set point outside of the top two in its pool.

Bullows said they were keen to come back and have another crack next year.

“We started out slowly getting to know the slower Queensland greens, but managed to find the pace in the second game,” he said.

“We dominated our next four games needing to win the last to guarantee a finals birth and not rely on percentages.

We lost the last game on the final bowls against a strong Adelaide side, however thinking we did enough to make it through to the finals only to find out 20 minutes after the game we missed out on set points not percentage due to a tied set from an earlier match.

“We all played well and shouldn’t be disappointed because even though we didn’t win we have to remember that we finished in the top six teams out of 900 plus teams across Australia.