Dream comes true
"OVER the moon."
That was Kris Lehfeldt's verdict after combining with Brett Wilkie to capture the Summerland Pairs final at Ballina's Cherry Street Bowling and Recreation Club yesterday.
A sparkling final performance saw club bowls co-ordinator Lehfeldt and 2012 world championship fours gold medallist Wilkie seal the title with a 22-8 final victory over Walter Jacobs and Kelvin Kerkow.
Lehfeldt, who had teamed up with Wilkie only shortly before the tournament after his original partner withdrew, was overjoyed to capture the tournament for the first time.
"It is always a delight to win tournaments like this," he said.
"When I started bowls this was the dream tournament to win.
"I am over the moon."
Sixty-four teams, including some of the best players in Australia and the region, took part in the three-day event.
Lehfeldt and Wilkie endured some close shaves on their way to the final, including a final end 16-15 victory over South Tweed pairing Ray Hickman and Brendan Hoey in their semi-final.
The duo was in no mood to let the final slip though, racing to a 14-6 lead after nine ends with some immaculate bowls.
More superb play pushed the lead out to 17-6 after 11 ends.
Jacobs and Kerkow tried to turn up the heat but could not find a response.
Lehfeldt and Wilkie eventually closed the match out on the 19th end to take the $11,000 top prize.
"We were waiting for them to come back at us," Lehfeldt admitted.
"I kept saying 'we have to make that second shot'.
"Between the two of us they never got a chance today to get themselves back into the match."
Pottsville-based Lehfeldt, who has been at the Ballina club for just under two years, said he had enjoyed the pair's nail-biting run to the final.
"That is what you play bowls for," he said. "It gives you that adrenalin boost.
"I have won state pairs and a fair few other events before but this one is a feather in my cap."
Despite the heavy defeat, Jacobs was a gracious loser.
"I'm sorry for the supporters that we could not make the final more exciting," he said.
"It was difficult to play against these guys.
"I want to thank all the sponsors and everyone at the club for making it a wonderful event."
This was the 48th year of the pairs competition, which again drew decent crowds to the club over the three days.
The club's Summerland Singles will get under way on Friday.