Lisa Phillips was a member of the Academy's Lawn Bowls Program from 2006 to 2007 and one of its most successful graduates.
Story and photograph © Bowls Australia and reproduced with permission.
Teenage giant slayer Lisa Phillips has conceded her heart was in her mouth in the dying moments of the women’s singles final at the $40,000 BCiB Queensland Open.
Despite holding one on the final end of the tie-break, good enough for the championship, the 17-year-old was hoping for some divine intervention as former world champion Carmen Anderson stepped on to the mat.
Teenage giant slayer Lisa Phillips has been crowned this year’s BCiB
Queensland Open singles champion. © Bowls Australia
But there would be no stopping Phillips, who has not put a foot wrong since stepping on the Bribie Island greens rocking her black mohawk and aviators, as the Victorian young gun watched Anderson’s final effort swing wide allowing her to claim her maiden Bowls Australia grand prix crown.
“I’m still shaking, but I’m pretty excited, pretty pumped to get over the line,” Phillips said following her 10-1, 6-8, 2-1 victory.
“I’m still nervous.”
During an incredible run, Phillips had to play a past or present international in every round of the competition, eliminating former Australian representative Di Cunnington in her opening match before doing likewise to world number five and pre-tournament favourite Kelsey Cottrell.
Ironically, Cottrell remains the circuit’s youngest ever singles winner after claiming the Queensland Open in 2007 as a 17-year-old herself, piping Phillips by a matter of weeks.
Nonetheless, the Richmond Union recruit, who hails from Yallourn, rose to the occasion as she also put the sword to current Australian squad member Kelli Wray and former Scottish superstar Kay Moran in the quarter and semi-finals before confronting Anderson in today’s championship decider.
“It’s amazing, just playing against them is a real honour and to beat them it’s just like wow,” Phillips said.
“I just want to keep up my current form and see what the future offers.”
Having represented Australia at under-18 level earlier this year, Phillips is being touted as one of the game’s next stars and joins an impressive list of winners at the Queensland Open which includes Cottrell, world championship gold medallist Claire Duke and Australian under-25 representative Bec Quail.
Blustery conditions made play difficult but did not detract from the excitement of a close finish in the Academy's Lawn Bowls Pairs Championship on the weekend.
Following the knock out rounds William McIlwain and Sam Atkinson might have been fancied to beat Matt Leicester and Ryan Bell in the final. But, despite playing very well, Will and Sam were unable to win enough points during the match to get a clear advantage.
On the second last end a fine bowl by Matt took the jack and trailed it, slipping him and Ryan into a one point lead. Will and Sam responded by tying the match on the last end. In the tense playoff which followed Matt and Ryan managed to win by one point.
The exciting tournament was a fitting conclusion to the Lawn Bowls Program as the squad members have successfully advanced their skills and have consequently had positive results in open-age events.
The Lawn Bowls Program will now go into recess for a few months and is likely to recruit some additional faces into its next squad.
An Academy team won the fours tournament at Yarragon earlier this week. The successful team were Sam Atkinson (skip), Will McIlwain, Ryan Bell and Alex Houston.
The team members were delighted with their win especially as it is the same event which they won last year.
The green was heavy and took some adjusting to but Ryan Bell had little trouble and played superbly. Sam Atkinson was the ideal choice as skip as he plays extremely well there. In fact, it is his home ground and he was recently crowned the club's champion.
This is the last of the squad's official club tournaments so it was a high note on which to finish the season. The inter-Academy challenge is the only tournament remaining on the squad's calendar.
The Academy's lawn bowls squad returned to Daylesford last week for the Victorian Regional Junior Championships carrying high hopes of qualifying for the final rounds.
Those attending were Matt Leicester, Will McIlwain, Scott Wegener (skip, first team), Sam Atkinson, Alex Houston, Gareth Rich (skip, second team), Jesse McEwan, Ryan Bell, Rhys Pywell (skip, third team)
Luck was not with the team before they arrived with two substitutes necessary to cover injured players. Then, despite some very good bowling, the team members found themselves as spectators for the finals.
A first round against the extremely strong Bendigo teams put the Academy teams under pressure right from the start. Bendigo had State players in their side, and their players maintained winning shots and tactics throughout.
In the second round against Geelong our sides again went down with only one of the three teams winning. In the third round the Academy took a clean sweep of 3-0 against the Bayside Dolphins.
Because the tournament is a State event everyone knew that there would be some very tough opposition. However, it's only when you step onto the green that your opponents' skills and game tactics become apparent. Having the ability to counter the others' strengths is something that is learned with successive tournament experience. Daylesford, as in previous years, was a great environment for learning and reflecting about bowling better.
Indeed, there were many highly skilled young players present at the Championship. Such a solid core of wonderful young players augurs well for the sport's future.
Whilst our squad will be looking forward to returning to this tournament next year they will also be eager for a rematch against Bayside Dolpins in the annual academy challenge match in March.
At last Saturday's invitation-only lawn bowls tournament at Morwell the Academy's team had a mixed day but also played out one of the most exciting matches of the tournament.
The Academy team members were Matt Leicester, Ryan Renfrew, Sam Atkinson and Jack Shaw (as skip). The Academy was pitted against top teams from Burwood Park, Dromana and regional areas. Competition included doubles and fours matches.
Unfortunately a bad start by the Academy saw two early losses and a draw in their third. The fourth match did not look hopeful either as they were drawn against the event favourites, a side in which there were several well-known top players.
Jack Shaw played some fine bowls and inspired the Academy side so they were soon out-bowling their rivals. The opposition countered by big power drives and dead-ending the games. These ends had to be replayed which resulted in the match running far longer than the others. Competitors from other teams gathered to see the climax of the contest and whether the Academy team could hold out or if their more eminent rivals would win their way into the final.
Late in the match the Academy team held the barest lead. Then the second last end began to go badly with the Academy three down at the head. In the tactical game which followed Sam showed great control in driving the kitty into the ditch, and Jack coolly outplayed his rivals by twice bowling right to the plinth.
Disaster had been averted and the Academy team went into the last end four up. They only had to match their opponents' bowls to win the game. With fine bowling from both sides and still a sliver of a chance of the top side winning, the Academy team held on in the last end to win by one. It was a sweet victory and one which was the spectators applauded as a superb contest.
The Morwell Club awarded the team an encouragement award and invited their return next year.
Well done Matt, Ryan, Sam and Jack!
Sam Atkinson, Ryan Bell and Rhys Pywell have represented the Academy at two lawn bowls tournaments since the New Year.
Players lost only one game during the two tournaments. Despite their good results however, they missed the finals both times.
The lost game at Garfield put the Academy team just outside the finalists. Then at Moe, several days later, despite winning in every round, they were squeezed out of the finals by teams with more points in the elimination games.
Even so, Sam, Ryan and Rhys achieved solid results and look to be in good form for the Daylesford championship event, later in January, which will involve all squad members.
A cool-headed Rhys Pywell successfully defended his Academy lawn bowls singles title on Sunday. The competition was amongst the Academy's lawn bowls squad and was conducted as a part of their training day.
Rhys had won the title last year in a competition which was marked by high quality performances.
This year Rhys showed his maturity by overcoming Sam Atkinson in an exciting elimination game and then going on to defeat Ryan Bell in a close final. At the end of the long day both Rhys and Ryan had noticeably tired but still showed great control in their play.
Throughout the day there were many great match ups and passages of play and, once again, coaches commented favourably on the quality of the tournament. They also said that the elimination game between Jesse McEwan and William McIlwain was one of the finest, with close scores bringing out the best of each player.
Players are in preparation for the Daylesford U18 competition in January, an event which the Academy team almost won last year. In the lead up all players have been intensively involved in regular club and pennant competitions, but forthcoming tournaments in the next few weeks will further help players to sharpen their greens skills.
Two teams of Academy lawn bowlers finished first and second at the Yarragon Bowling Club's Australia Day triples tournament yesterday.
All members of both teams bowled extremely well and deserved their results. The winning team won each of their three games with the companion team having two wins and a draw.
The winning side was Tom Van Vugt (skip), Scott Wegener, and Jesse McEwan. The second team members were Rhys Pywell (skip), Sam Atkinson, and Ryan Renfrew.
Another cause for celebration was that the Academy only officially enters teams in a few tournaments each year, and this was the first team victory. All were delighted, especially having taken the top two places.
It was also Tom Van Vugt's second tournament win for the long weekend as he was in a winning fours side at Neerim on Saturday. Tom's team mates in that event included former Academy players Jack Shaw and Gareth Rich.
The Academy's lawn bowls squad faced tough conditions in yesterday's Daylesford junior tournament. Scorching northerly gale-force winds made accurate bowling difficult and tested players' resilience and humour.
However, our bowlers played well, and managed to adjust their games better than most. The teams were divided into three sides of fours and the Academy finished with 6 wins, two draws and one loss from 9 matches. The loss, to the Ballarat side, by just 4 shots, gave Ballarat the finals berth.
In the finals Ballarat went on to a comfortable win over Geelong, who were the top team in the second section.
Coaches Lorraine Steel and Jack Unmack were both impressed by the team's performances and felt that luck was a contributing factor in them not making the finals.
"Our team was playing very well and on any a percentage basis had excellent results," Lorraine Steel said. She believes that the results give promise of better things to come for the Academy squad.
Eight junior teams from around Victoria competed in the tournament.
Four Academy lawn bowls teams have all played very well during recent tournaments.
The matches have been at Maffra, Traralgon and at Moe where we had two teams. Although none of our teams were in finals all played effectively enough to pressure the top sides. The Maffra and Traralgon matches were played in particularly windy conditions where luck had a part in determining the outcomes.
However all our players have impressed the club committees and further match invitations were offered following every tournament.
At last Saturday's lawn bowls training day the annual Academy singles championship play off was held.
Rhys Pywell, who joined the Academy this year, overcame Tom Van Vugt in the final. Coaches later commented that quality of bowling would have been worthy of any championship, with fine drawing and driving in every match.
Both Rhys and Tom are regarded as top bowlers in their clubs with both playing division 1. Rhys is with Yallourn and Tom is with Warragul.
After a dramatic run to the final, Lisa Phillips won the Victorian Under 25 Lawn Bowls Singles Championship at Clayton on Sunday.
Halfway through the final Lisa held a narrow lead, but a skillful mix of close draws and some well-placed drives saw Lisa taking control and overwhelming her opponent.
Lisa's confident play in the final was characteristic of her game throughout the finals series. As matches progressed and pressure mounted Lisa would play herself into a commanding position with the same unanswerable combination of finely drawn bowls and effective drives.
Still only 15, Lisa was with the Academy until the end of last year when she took up a place in the Victorian U18 training squad. She is now under the guidance of the VLBA's coaches.
Lisa first came to the attention of State selectors while at the Academy and is now a regular member of Victorian junior teams.
Lisa Phillips has been again selected to represent Victoria at the Australian U18 Championships.
She will be part of a five member junior girls team and has been selected as skip of both the pairs and fours. Although only 15, it will be Lisa's third time in a Victorian side, with her last appearance against South Australia in January. Her selection to skip roles affirms the contributions she has made to previous team results.
The championships will be held at Newcastle at the end of September, with Lisa also involved in a state training camp at Moama a week earlier.
Lawn bowler Matthew Higgins has been selected to the Victorian U18 Squad. His outstanding results had previously been recognised by invitations to attend training camps and to try out for the squad.
Earlier this week the Victorian Squad for 2009-09 was announced, with Matthew's name included among the 25.
Matthew's status on the squad means that he will train with them and can anticipate selection for Victoria at some competitions. He joins Lisa Phillips as the second Academy bowler to make a Victorian Squad.
The Academy's lawn bowls squad stole a narrow victory over their metropolitan equivalents, the Bayside Dolphins on the weekend.
Both squads were playing the first of an annual shield event which will be contested between them. It was played on the Academy's home green at Yallourn.
In the competition the Gippsland Academy took an early lead from the Dolphins, but the visitors steadily closed the gap during the day. Rain stopped play several times and it may have been more difficult for the visitors to adjust to the Yallourn green conditions. However, by the end of the competition the Dolphins had closed to just four shots behind.
The Gippsland squad members were pleased with their results, particularly as the Dolphins side includes older players and some who are regular members of Victorian squads. But our squad members already know that a repeat victory next year, on the Dolphins' home greens, will be extremely difficult.
In last week's U18 Victorian Championships Sam Atkinson finished equal third in the mixed doubles. This was an outstanding result as it is Sam's first season in the Academy. Sam has shown impressive improvement over the year.
Others to advance into final rounds in the U18 singles were Scott Wegener, Matthew Higgins and Gareth Rich. Although none of the three were able to take medals, their performances show great depth in the Academy squad.
Subsequently, Gareth Rich has been invited to try out for the State U18 squad. Hopefully, he will then join his team mate Matthew Higgins on the list for Victorian selection.
The four boys join Lisa Phillips who was also a finalist in the girls' U18 singles. Lisa finished second.
Lisa Phillips has finished as runner-up in the U18 Girls Victorian State Singles Championships on the weekend at the Clayton Bowls Club.
After winning her section Lisa advanced to the quarter finals where she had a 25-8 win. Another great performance in the semi-final against state representative Joanna Cassar saw Lisa win 25-7.
In the final Lisa played experienced state representative 17yr old Melanie Watt. Scores were locked at 18 all before Melanie played some great conversion shots to take out the title 25-20.
On the strength of her performances Lisa is now hopeful of being selected in the state team to play at the Australian Junior Championships. They will be held in Newcastle in October.
Lawn bowler Matthew Higgins has been invited to join the Victorian squad next weekend at Bendigo. He is a late addition and will be competing in an annual trophy event played amongst the squad members.
Matthew has previously been invited to a State training camp and now must be highly regarded to be on the emergency list.
At Sale's Easter Sunday mixed medley tournament, the Academy team were runners-up.
The team was made up of our more experienced players, Gabriella Sergi, Scott Wegener, Lisa Phillips and Ashleigh Cotter. They were very effective in adjusting their play to the sudden seasonal change and much slower greens.
Academy bowlers also competed in tournaments on two other days during Sale Club's Easter bowling carnival. On the Friday, two teams were entered in the two triples. Members were Gabriella Sergi, Scott Wegener and Gareth Rich, with Matthew Taylor, Matthew Richards and Grant Seccombe in the second team.
Each team won games, but was unable make finals. Apart from the greens the teams also faced very skilled and competitive players and, hopefully, have learned from their experiences.
On Easter Monday Matthew Higgins and Lisa Phillips returned to defend the open mixed trophy which they won last year. However, a lost game — by a mere two shots — put them out of contention.
Those attending commented on the high of play shown by Academy squad members over all three Easter events.
In the preceding week at Traralgon the Academy's team faced a tough draw against former Victorian champions, and almost certain early elimination. Nonetheless Alex Houston, Mat Smith, Will Colvin and Sam Atkinson took the game up to their more fancied opponents, and they only narrowly lost the deciding third game.
Well done all players!
Lisa Phillips was unsuccessful in her bid in the Australian Championships. Drawing against Australia's No2, Sharon Renshaw, in the first round of the singles, Lisa went down 12-5, 9-9.
However, for 15 year old Lisa to hold to a draw an experienced played like Ms Renshaw was quite an achievement.
Play still continues and the singles final will be held on Saturday.
Lisa also joined Danielle, her mother, in the doubles but unfortunately it was a similar story, with a first round loss after a second game draw (10-5, 8-8).
Academy bowler, Lisa Phillips, played at her best last weekend by winning her section in singles and pairs to qualify for the finals of the Australian Open.
In securing her singles place Lisa also notched up her second win this month over the Australian U18 champion, Louren Katague.
However, Lisa's opposition in the singles final will be formidable. She has drawn against Sharon Renshaw, Australia's no.2 ranked female, who is in fine form with a recent win in the New Zealand Open.
In the pairs Lisa played with her mother, Danielle, where they won their section, including a victory over the team led by former World Champion Gordana Baric. Once again, the finals cannot be expected to be easy.
The Australian Open starts on Monday at the Darebin International Sports Centre.
Fourteen-year-old Lisa Phillips played exceptional lawn bowls on the weekend when she represented Victoria in a three test series against Tasmania at Bundoora. Lisa won all of her games to help Victoria to a three-nil test victory.
Lisa's good form follows on from a great debut for the state in Adelaide prior to Christmas where she won her 3 singles matches.
In her second State tournament at Gosford, two weeks ago, Lisa was not as dominant against New South Wales, but she still played well enough to defeat Louren Katague, the current Australian U18 Champion.
Lisa, who has been with the Academy's lawn bowls squad for two seasons, is now preparing for the Australian Open Qualifying Tournament to be held in Melbourne next week. This will be followed by the State U18 Singles Championships in March.
In two days of tournaments over the Australia Day weekend, Academy Lawn Bowls squad members faced some challenging competition.
The Neerim events attracted experienced bowlers from around Victoria and, after recent rains, the greens were very heavy and slow.
On Saturday two Academy teams each won two of their four matches. Teams comprised Dane Jones, Will Colvin, Matthew Richards, and Sam Atkinson (skip); and Tom Van Vugt, Scott Wegener, Alex Houston, and Gareth Rich (skip).
While all players accredited themselves well, Tom Van Vugt, in his first year with the Academy, showed some fine bowling in the conditions.
In the Monday triples tournament, one team represented the Academy. Members were Sam Atkinson, Tom Van Vugt, and Jack Shaw (skip). Again they won two of their four games, but one of the losses was by only 3 points.
The next major tournament is in Traralgon in March, but in the meantime bowlers will continue to be involved in club competitions.
Five members of the Academy's lawn bowls squad accredited themselves well at the recent TRUenergy Yallourn Classic, which is Victoria's top singles event. This year the Classic attracted many bowlers with national and state team experience.
Lisa Phillips, Jack Shaw, Gareth Rich, Matthew Higgins and Ashleigh Cotter all received invitations to play in the event and all played competitively. Most of them won at least one game, but none of them was able to win their section.
Yallourn Bowling Club Committee member Byron Puddy said that the highlight of day 1 was the performance of the Academy's five young bowlers.
"They all performed very well, they are the up-and-coming players of the future," Mr Puddy said.
Lisa Phillips, representing Victoria in a junior lawn bowls test match, played successfully against South Australia last week.
Lisa had been selected as the Victorian junior squad's no. 1 player, and she contested singles and doubles events. Lisa justified the selector's decision by clean-sweeping all of her singles matches.
Lisa had also presented herself in further State selection trials before Christmas and has now achieved selection in two more tournaments. She will join State junior test squads to play against NSW in Culcairn, NSW, early next week, and against Tasmania in early February.
Lisa Phillips is the first of our lawn bowls squad members to be selected in a Victorian team.
Lisa was announced today as a member of the U18 team to play in a test match against South Australia from January 7-9. Lisa has been listed in the top spot in the team, and will play in the singles and doubles.
The Victorian team includes new and established U18 players, and they will be accompanied to South Australia by 4 senior women's teams.
The Academy's lawn bowls squad was established 18 months ago and Lisa is one of several players, during that time, who have moved from club to elite standard.
Four Academy lawn bowlers head Gippsland's list of qualifiers for the Victorian U18 titles.
Gabriella Sergi, Matt Higgins, Gareth Rich, and Sam Atkinson all qualified last weekend . They will play in the next qualifier, an inter-regional elimination round, on 5 December.
Four Academy Lawn Bowlers have now caught a selector's eye and are on the list for possible inclusion in Victorian junior squads.
Lisa Phillips has been invited to trial for a junior women's team, and she will join Gabriella Sergi who had received an earlier invitation. Both girls had been highly competitive in Victorian events last year, playing through to final rounds.
Matthew Higgins and Gareth Rich have both been offered a place at State training camp which will be held in Ballarat in January. Gareth's excellent performances last season would have been the basis for his inclusion. Matthew also achieved excellent results, making his mark against more experienced players in open Gippsland tournaments.
With the Lawn Bowls season only just under way, we look forward to the achievements of our squad members in just their second year.
The Academy's Lawn Bowls Squad members are in good shape already and looking forward to the season ahead.
In a pre-season team trial Matthew Higgins lead the way and showed that he has lost none of his touch and is ready to continue with the fine play that he exhibited at the end of last season.
Surprise runner up in the trial was Corey Pryse, who is new to the Squad this year. Corey has already shown a great deal of improvement with potential for more to come.
Meanwhile Gabriella Sergi has been invited to try out with the Victorian junior squad. Gabriella comes from a family of lawn bowlers, and is one of last year's squad who impressed State selectors.
With some good early preparation behind them the squad looks forward to their first open competition, at Traralgon, in two weeks.
After just one year in the Academy Lawn Bowls Squad, Lisa Phillips has had some astonishing fine achievements.
In selection trials for the squad to compete in the Australian Indoors Singles Championship, Lisa had reached the final 8. Last Sunday, the State squad of 4 was decided at the last round of trials. The Championship is an open-age event, so as a young teenager, Lisa has faced some highly experienced opponents.
Lisa drew against the Robyn Thomassen, an experienced player who has previously represented Victoria. Lisa lost the first set 7-9 before taking out the second set 9-8. In a close tie-breaker Lisa lost by just one shot.
Although defeated, Lisa's outstanding performance caught the attention of selectors, and she has been invited to a State Talent Identification Day next week. As one door closes, another opens. Good luck Lisa!
Lisa Phillips, one of the Academy's successful junior bowlers, yesterday played in preliminary rounds for the Australian Indoors Singles Championship. The Championship is an open-age event and usually contested by skilled and highly experienced bowlers.
Lisa won all three of her games against more experienced opponents to reach the last 8 in the State. The final selection trial will be held at Glen Waverley next Sunday. The top four will be selected to represent Victoria.
The Australian Championship will be held at Tweed Heads in August.
Yesterday, Matthew Higgins and Lisa Phillips, two of the Academy's last lawn bowls squad, won an open mixed tournament at Sale. The tournament had attracted bowlers from around Victoria, as well as a New Zealand team.
On the day the greens were quite fast, around 18 seconds, and it had generally been expected that the more experienced bowlers would adjust better to the greens. However, the reverse was the case as the young Academy bowlers fared better. A surprised tournament sponsor complemented Matthew and Lisa on their win and remarked that it was the first occasion when junior bowlers had taken out the event.
A few days earlier, Matthew had teamed with his father in a men's open pairs tournament, also at Sale, where they were runners up.
Our young girls, Lisa Phillips and Gabriella Sergi, both new to bowling, and a year with the Academy, gave the Victorian U18 women's title a shake last weekend.
Playing against more experienced bowlers, both Lisa and Gabriella made the semi-finals last Saturday. Both were successful, going through to the final 6 play-off on Sunday.
Unfortunately for Lisa, she was defeated in the early rounds, finishing in sixth place. Gabriella was more successful, finishing equal third.
Both girls had been defeated by Samantha Warren, who is internationally experienced and the current Australian U18 champion. To play finals against such top bowlers demonstrates the enormous progress our squad members have made in just one year.
On Monday Matthew won the Sale Bowling Club 100 Up title. It was a convincing performance, and his final score was 100 - 75.
Matthew capped this with another solid win today, in the club's handicap singles event. Matthew's result in the final was 21-9.
Congratulations Matthew, for the outstanding results against more experienced, open division bowlers.
Eight members of the Academy’s Lawn Bowls squad played in the Daylesford triples tournament on Saturday. Players were matched randomly with other entrants which separated the Academy team members.
Grant Seccombe’s team finished a close second, only one point behind the winners. Grant played well all day in his team.
Dane Jones, Jack Shaw and Gareth Rich won awards for best first game, third game and last game, so all were in good touch on the day.
The luck of the draw went against Ashleigh Cotter who found himself in an uncompetitive team. However, Ashleigh consistently played some of the best bowls of the day, despite the odds, lifted his side, and won many complements for his performance.
Our other bowlers, Matthew Higgins, Matthew Richards and Scott Wegener also played competitively, although not winning any awards, and contributed effectively to their teams.
The three Academy bowlers who played in the State U18 Triples quarter final last week end performed well, despite being eliminated.
Gabriella Sergi, Matthew Higgins and Ashleigh Cotter had successfully played through other rounds to reach the quarter finals. They had been leading throughout the match but had it stolen from them in the last three ends, going down by 4 points.
Again, it has been a great achievement for the Academy's young squad as they have played competitively against the best in the State.
The three young players can console themselves that there is always next year. In Ashleigh's case, he will be moving up to the U25s, but Gabriella and Matthew will be eligible to contest the U18 event again.
In the Sebastopol U19 Triples Tournament last weekend Academy lawn bowlers performed exceptionally well, playing against the State's best, including those in the State squad.
Organisers arranged the teams, which separated the Academy team mates. Jack Shaw was in the winning team, and Gareth Rich in the fourth placed side.
Lisa Philips and Bradley Brcic, won awards for game aggregates or first touches. Lisa again, and Gabriella Sergi, were recognised for first touches.
Our remaining three representatives, Dane Jones, Matthew Richards and Grant Seccombe, although not winning awards, also played equally well for their sides.
A total of 48 young bowlers played in 16 teams.
Last weekend three of the Academy’s Lawn Bowls squad qualified for the quarter finals of the Victorian U18 Triples Championship.
Gabriella Sergi, Matthew Higgins and Ashleigh Cotter played successfully in the qualifying rounds at Garfield. Drawn against a team comprising players from the State U18 team, it was an unexpected and confidence-boosting win.
The trio will compete in the quarter finals on 4 March.
Lisa Phillips finished equal third at last weekend's final play-off for the Ladies Novice Singles Championship in lawn bowls.
Lisa had progressed through successive elimination rounds to make the final four play-off. Lisa again played well. With the scores tied at one set all, one end all, Lisa lost the critical equaliser.
Despite the loss, it has been a great season for Lisa in just her first year of lawn bowling. For a 13-year old, it's been a wonderful start to her bowling career.
Congratulations to two of our young Academy lawn bowlers who performed well in open competition on the weekend. They were Lisa Phillips, in the Victorian Women's Novice Championship, and Gareth Rich in the Group 8 State under 30's title.
Lisa, who had previously won her way into the last 16 of the Novices title, won her two games, and is now in the final four for the Championship play-off. The Novice Championship is for players in their first year of the sport, and the final will be held at Lalor next weekend.
Gareth played in the Group 8 final, which covers the Gippsland area, where a win would have taken him through to the State finals for under 30s. Unfortunately for Gareth he lost 25-24 in the final after leading much of the game. Despite the loss, Gareth's result is an outstanding achievement for a novice player against more experienced, open-age players.
Our two mixed pairs teams each won two of their three matches at the Traralgon Tournament last Friday.
Our teams of Lisa Phillips with Scott Wegener, and Gabriella Sergi with Brad Brcic were complemented on their outstanding performances by more experienced players.
With each successive match, the players are improving the tactical aspects of their play. Gabriella and Brad showed great confidence in one of their games when, down 10 points near the end, they played an attacking finish and secured the win.
In only their first season, the Academy squad members have made great progress in their technical and game skills. To date they have been playing in open Gippsland competitions, and we look forward to seeing how they perform in two major junior tournaments coming up in February and April.
Thirteen year old Lisa Phillips has played through the qualifying rounds and is now in the final 16 play-off for the Victorian Women's Novice Singles title. Lisa needed to play through a number of elimination rounds to make the Championship event.
The Championship is a new event restricted to first-year players. It is also an open age event, so Lisa will face players who have had competitive experience in other sports. The final will be played on 4 February.
Good luck Lisa!
Our Joint Head Coach in the Lawn Bowls Program, Lorraine Steel, finished third in last week's Victorian Women's Championships.
Although Lorraine is a previous winner of the title, she said she was satisfied with the result. The placing puts Lorraine in contention for State team selection for the Australian Championships. Lorraine has been a regular member of the Victorian side for many years, so she has a depth of experience playing against Australia's best.
At last weekend' s invitation tournament at Sale, the young Academy squad bowlers played very well, though narrowly defeated in five of their six games. Their one winning game was against a top side.
Our two teams comprised Matthew Higgins, Matthew Oglesby, Ashleigh Cotter, with Michael Daw as skip; and Gabriella Sergi, Scott Wegener, Gareth Rich, and Daniel Laverty (skip).
Playing against highly experienced players, the Academy teams impressed with their skills and greens decorum.
On the strength of their performance, the Academy has received an offer to send a team to another Gippsland open invitation tournament.
Head Coach Jack Unmack commented favourably on the players' performances at Sale and their achievements in their first year. He anticipates that all players are capable of further continuing improvement.
The squad players have competed in open tournaments until now, but late next month they will compete against top young players in the Sebastopol junior tournament.
Last weekend Academy lawn bowlers played exceptionally well at the Lakes Entrance open Triples Tournament.
Squad members Matt Oglesby (lead), Dane Jones (middle) and Ashleigh Cotter (skip) lost their first game 18-7 after leading until the last two ends. They then comfortably won their second game 9-17.
Overall, it was a tough draw for the young players, and no less so in the final game where they drew the Lakes Entrance team, the eventual tournament winners. However, the Academy players were superb, and they held the lead by 7 points until the last three ends. However, they lost the remaining ends, going down 9-17.
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