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National Fours Championship won by Mike Sweeney

Terry Howard

6 May 2023

Moose Sweeney "muscles" his way to the Championship

The RSL Bowls National Fours Championship was held from Wednesday May 3rd to Saturday May 6th. Sectional matches were played over Wednesday, Thursday and Friday with the section winners and next best three performed teams playing out the quarter finals on Friday afternoon.

Unfortunately, no team from South Australia made it into the quarters. Our best performed team of John Diestel-Federssen, ..., ... and ... were in with a chance but just missed out with a last match loss. Despite scoring 6 points, their shots difference wasn't high enough to get through in the "next best performed" category.

Western Australia's strength showed through with 5 teams making it into finals, followed by 2 from NSW and 1 from Victoria. Not unexpected that last Nationals Fours winners, Victoria's Pat Phelan and team, made finals once again. It was unusual that no Qld teams made it into finals despite having two strong contenders in the mix.

Semi finalists were the teams of Darryl Radford (WA), Mike Sweeney (WA), Pat Phelan (Vic) and Allan Higgins (WA).

Just to throw and unusual twist into the event, a forecast weather change dumped enough rain on Manning's greens to force a change to Rossmoyne Bowling Club - about 10 minutes south of Manning - so that finals matches could be played under cover.

The morning matches saw the teams of Higgins and Radford drop out and those of Phelan and Sweeney move on to the Final.

The Grand Final was played in cool conditions on a wide drawing carpet surface that gave all bowlers the opportunity to show their skills. The match was tight until Pat Phelan's boys started to edge away to a four shot lead with only three ends to play. WA scored one shot on the 19th end and, in an unusual concession, Pat Phelan decided not to play his last on the 20th, despite being one shot down and so going into the last end with a two shot lead.

Some uncharacteristically loose bowls from the Victorian team saw WA take the last end by three shots giving them the Championship.

Congratulations to Mike (Moose) Sweeney, Blake Buttler (third), Matt Ngui (2nd) and Leo Mola (Lead) on their win. When I asked Moose where the nickname came from he told me it was from muscling his way through the opposition on the rugby pitch - like a great big moose!

National Fours Winners
The Champs - L to R: Matt Ngui; Blake Butler; Leo Mola; Mike Sweeney with President Phil Griffiths

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