Abbott, Boston win Summerland Pairs bowls final against tough competition
IT WAS victory for the underdogs at Ballina's prestigious Summerland Pairs bowls tournament, with local bowlers Alf Boston and Allan Abbott claiming the title.
They beat NSW state player Carl Healey and state pairs champion Chris Herdon in the final.
The tournament, held at Cherry Street Sports Club in Ballina, saw 64 sets of pairs battle it out for the title, including Ryan Bester and Kelvin Kerkow, both former Summerland Singles winners, Robbie Dobbins, a former national coach of Australia and Malaysia, and plenty of local talent.
But local lads Boston and Abbott took out some strong competition to win the event.
Boston said it was one of his proudest moments in his 31 years playing bowls.
"It is an underdog story ... it was a really nice feeling and the crowd was so supportive," he said.
"All the games were close; we could have lost at any moment if we weren't careful.
"We tried to keep the game tight so we didn't drop a big number.
"But it was very windy, and it was very hard to pick the line of your bowl. It makes it unpredictable."
Gold Coast powerhouse team Nathan Wise and Michael Clarke were eliminated in the round of 16, suffering a shock 18-3 loss to their Coast compatriots, Peter Richards and Braiden Leese.
In one of several upsets, 15-year-old local star Kit Conlan and Brian Bermingham and edged out Helensvale power pair Craig Wilkie and Rohan Wilson by one point.
Abbott and Boston played a thrilling semi-final against superstars Kerkow and De Jongh which went down as the draw of the tournament, with plenty of bombs and several turns of momentum.
Organiser Kris Lehfeldt hailed this year as the strongest field in the 54 years of the pairs competition, saying it lived up to its name as one of the top 10 events in Australian bowls circuit.
"We've had competitors flying in from New Zealand, Melbourne, and Sydney," he said.
"The majority of players are ranked in the top 50 in Australia."
The singles will start on Saturday, with the final to be played on Monday.