Uralla make semis but fall as Taree takes bowls crown

Uralla Bowling and Recreation Club’s bowlers were surprised to make the state pennant grade six finals but that didn’t stop the small club from charging deeper into the competition.

Following some quality bowling over the opening two days, Uralla booked a spot in the semi-finals against Kempsey.

Unfortunately, that was where the run finished for Uralla as Kempsey scored a 71-47 victory to set up a final berth again Taree Railway who had moved through with a 61-52 win over Nelson Bay.

The final fittingly had nothing in it with Taree sneaking home to win 65-59 – much to the delight of Taree’s Craig ‘Plucka’ Rahill.

“It was down to the wire, it came down to the last two ends. We were neck and neck,” Plucka said following the final at the South Tamworth Bowling Club.

It was a big effort from a little club.

Craig Rahill

“The railway boys, we dropped a really bad six which then gave Kempsey a shot at redemption but our team rallied.

“We put in some precision bowls and they were trying to kill it to replay the last end but we got there. It was a big effort from a little club.”

The effort was mighty but the win wasn’t unexpected, well not this year anyway.

This was the first time for 16 or 17 years the club has taken out a flag – zone or state – according to Plucka.

But this year the side had something special and it was shown in the opening rounds of the finals. A display described by Plucka as “very strong”.

Those opening games saw Taree score 29.5 out of a possible 30 points to gain the favourites tag heading into the finals with the side’s tenacity shining through again and again.

“Working together, cohesion,” Plucka said when asked what made this team special. 

“If one failed, another would pick up the pieces.

“And a lot of heart helps.

“We battled on, [we wouldn't] just say ‘we’re getting beat by five lets lay down’, we’d turn it around.”

While the bowls teams were working hard on the greens, there was plenty of work going on off them by the organisers.

The event, run by South Tamworth Bowling Club and Tamworth City Bowling Club, ran smoothly over all three days according to South Tamworth Bowling Club coordinator Phil Johnson.

“The event went really well, the weather was reasonably kind, windy but today [Sunday] has been perfect conditions for bowls,” he said.

“It ran smoothly, all the teams were really good and played the game in good spirit. They were all really nice fellas.”