Opinion

Thorn snags state title

by
September 28, 2016

City of Echuca’s Phil Thorn claimed his greatest single victory on the lawn bowls greens on Wednesday.

And it’s set him up for a trip to the Australian Open next month on the Gold Coast.

Thorn became Bowls Victoria single champion after coming back from being 11-6 down to beat Sale’s Matt Higgins 25-24 in a final-end thriller at Bendigo East.

The state championship capped off a great season for Thorn, who was also part of City’s Campaspe Valley division one men’s winning team.

The match was a truly see-sawing affair, with Thorn gaining the ascendancy 20-15 before Higgins again brought the margin back to one shot, 20-19.

It was then level at 23-all before Higgins edged a single shot ahead.

Thorn tied it all up at 24-apiece before going on to claim victory.

‘‘I just tried to concentrate and focus on what I was doing and stay calm,’’ he said after the win.

‘‘It was one of those games either bloke could have won and either bloke deserved to win, I was just the lucky one in front at the end. I’m very thrilled.’’

Thorn and Higgins had never met before the state decider — and Thorn said he hadn’t expected to win it, either.

‘‘I thought if I played as well as I can play I would go alright, but I didn’t think I would win it,’’ he said.

‘‘After Tuesday, after getting through the semi-final, I thought if I could reproduce the bowls I played yesterday I would give it a good shake. I was lucky enough to do that.’’

Thorn had beaten reigning world junior champion Aaron Wilson, from Bendigo, in the quarter-finals.

‘‘Aaron didn’t play quite as well as he can play — I played probably one of the best games of singles I have played,’’ he said.

‘‘I stuck to my draw game and I was able to get through.’’

The victory was ‘‘one for the oldies’’, according to Thorn, who turns 60 in July.

But the Australian Open won’t be a new experience — Thorn attended last year.

‘‘I look forward to that,’’ he said.

‘‘(In) the next few weeks there’s a few tournaments which will be a good lead-in.’’

Thorn also played with clubmate Wayne Brooks in the state pairs series and made it to the quarter-finals.

He was happy to acknowledge that the duo was beaten by better opponents, though he maintained it had overall been one of his best seasons in the sport.

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