#BPL11: Murray Steamers claim hometown title

by Bowls Australia

The Murray Steamers overcame every obstacle thrown at them to claim the #BPL11 title in front of their home crowd at Moama Bowling Club on Friday.

The Steamers took down Melbourne Roys in a Final for the ages, with shifting momentum, lucky shots and clutch moments throughout.

Ryan Bester and Jo Edwards once again showed absolute class in the first set of the decider, helping the home franchise to a 6-1 first set win.

The Steamers continued their momentum into the second set, but a piece of luck for Aaron Wilson managed to drastically shift it.

Murray was holding two shots in the third end of the second set, edging closer towards a second title when a drive from Wilson ricocheted of several bowls to land and give the Roys four, putting them in prime position to win the set, going on to do so 11-3.

The teams battled it out in an epic tie-break, with hometown hero Michael Walker driving the jack into the ditch with his second bowl.

Matthew Flapper was able to draw the shot with his next bowl, sitting just short of the ditch. Jo Edwards was then able to drive Flapper’s bowl out, with Wilson unable to draw any closer than Walker’s toucher in the ditch, giving the Steamers their second BPL title.

“It was a pretty unbelievable finish, really a great team effort,” Bester said.

“With Disco around you don’t want him seeing the jack, so we thought we’d have our best chance by putting it in the ditch and it paid off.”

It was a rollercoaster of a week for the Steamers, with Edwards missing a game with injury on Thursday night only to battle through on Friday and feature prominently in the finals.

“Last year Kurt Brown lost his bowls and they (Tweed Heads) won and this year with Jo’s injury, maybe its good to have something like that happen,” Bester joked.

“Really though, we just got around each other with plenty of support. I also think people underestimate how important the coach is. Fergo (David Ferguson) made sure everything was right and called the right plays, he was important too.”

Bester finished fifth in competition MVP standings, putting his strong form down to some good food.

“I have been having chicken wings at a place close to where we are staying before each night game. It seemed to work so I kept it going and luckily it’s paid off,” he said.

The path to the grand final was far from simple, with two tie-breaks required in the process.

The Roys were able to get the better of the Brisbane Pirates in the elimination final, triumphing in straight sets 10-5 5-2.

The Steamers held on in a tie-break to beat the Sydney Lions 6-1 1-8 1-0 in the semi final to advance to the final, setting up a Lions-Roys preliminary final.

The preliminary matchup was one to remember, with the Roys claiming the first set 6-3 before the Lions arrested all the momentum to win the second set 7-0.

The tie-break was shot for shot, with an umpire measure required to decide Aaron Wilson had drawn the shot with his final bowl to win the match and move his team into the final.

The Bowls Premier League will return in November for #BPL12 once again at Club Pine Rivers.

Progress results from #BPL11 below:

Finals – 

Elimination final – Brisbane Pirates def by Melbourne Roys 5-10 2-5

Semi final – Murray Steamers def Sydney Lions 6-1 1-8 1-0

Preliminary Final – Sydney Lions def by Melbourne Roys 3-6 7-0 0-1

Final – Murray Steamers def Melbourne Roys 6-1 3-11 1-0