The Gore Rams will contest the final of the inaugural Bowls3Five televised league, following a thrilling come-from-behind win over the Stoke Thunder.
The Rams have beaten the Thunder on a dramatic tie-breaker end (2-0), after the sets were split 0-11, 14-3 in the grand final qualifier at the New Lynn Bowling Club in Auckland.
Gore will now square-off against the Point Chevalier Pirates for the Bowls3Five trophy tomorrow night (Wednesday, November 28), while Stoke has to settle for third place and a $4,000 cheque.
The first set of the 2nd vs 3rd playoff was the most one-sided of the entire competition, with the Thunder winning each end and picking up at least two shots on four of them.
The Rams stepped up their game in the second set and one poor end proved costly for Stoke.
A desperate Gore took its power play and capitalised in spectacular fashion, drawing the five closest bowls to turn a 3-2 deficit into a set-winning 12-3 lead.
“It was really nerve-wracking,” Rams lead Ashleigh Jeffcoat said.
“Through the whole tournament I’ve been a bit iffy on the power plays so I knew I had to be there and that bowl when I sacked Kirsten [Edwards] out really helped.”
Jeffcoat was again to the fore in the tie-breaker end, moving the jack to the back of the green and setting up the head for Gore.
“In other tie-breaker ends I’ve pulled up short so in this game I told myself I wasn’t going to be short,” she said.
The Rams celebrated like they had won the title.
“We wanted to make the final and wanted to make Gore proud, so tomorrow will be a bonus,” Jeffcoat said.
Earlier, the Stokes Valley Vipers consigned the Royal Oak Rockets to a relegation playoff against the Woodend Jets.
The Vipers edged the Rockets 4-4, 3-2 in a titanic tussle to secure fourth place and $2,000 in prize money.
Stokes Valley settled the better of the two sides, collecting two shots on the first and third ends to lead 4-1 in the first set.
Searching for answers, Royal Oak opted to take its power play and it nearly proved to be a masterstroke, with the Rockets holding four shots before Vipers skip Lisa White drew the second with her final bowl of the fourth end.
David Akaruru, in for the ill Martin Dixon, ensured Royal Oak drew the shot on the final end to tie the set.
The second set was incredibly tight, going shot for shot and resulting in a winner-takes-all fifth end.
Akaruru and Robyn Fisher played superbly to ensure the Rockets held two shots when their skip Mike Galloway stepped on to the mat.
But his opposite then stole the match from Royal Oak, with Lisa White drawing the shot and ensuring the Rockets will be back tomorrow night (November 28) to play Woodend for a place in next year’s competition.
“It was a great night for the girls,” White said.
“It’s the greatest thing. I didn’t want to play tomorrow at all.”
Day 11 results
The Stokes Valley Vipers bt Royal Oak Rockets 4-4, 3-2
Gore Rams bt Stoke Thunder 0-11, 14-3 (Gore won the tie-breaker end 2-0)
Day 12 matches (both broadcast LIVE on SKY Sport 2)
Relegation match: Woodend Jets vs Royal Oak Rockets – 7:05pm
Title match: Point Chevalier Pirates vs Gore Rams – 8pm