Karen Brennan has started the new year with a positive, winning the Grampians Bowls Division champion of champions event in Stawell on Tuesday.
Chalambar’s Brennan faced Aradale’s Olive Gibson with the defending champion opening up a handy lead early in the final.
After scoring a whopping nine shots in the first four ends, Gibson had her work cut out to get back into the match.
Slowly she was able to close the gap, restricting Brennan to just three shots across five ends but by the 11th end, Brennan held a 17-3 lead with back-to-back titles looking likely.
Gibson was able to close the gap and went into the 22nd end trailing 15-20 to put pressure on Brennan to close the game out.
Eventually Brennan was able to do that, winning 25-15 after 24 ends to successfully defend her title from last year.
Brennan said it was a nervy match at times despite the scoreboard dominance.
“Sometimes the score does not reflect the match and how close it actually is,” she said
Sometimes the score does not reflect the match and how close it actually isKaren Brennan
“I just got lucky, sometimes you just have to hang in there and just play each bowl one at a time and not worry about thinking ahead.”
After going into the event as defending champion, there were times when Brennan did struggle to continue scoring regularly but she said she was just trying to keep a clear mind across the two-day event.
“There might have been a bit more pressure this year with me defending the title, but I tried to take the pressure right off, went in the mindset of just trying to enjoy it and it paid off,” she said.
Gibson impressed in her first outing at the champion of champions event after taking a few years of playing bowls.
She said her performance exceeded her expectations.
“I did not expect to get this far, I am really happy with how I went and to make it to the final,” she said.
“I did not really have an obvious plan for the final, I just wanted to go out and bowl and take it as it comes.
“I have not bowled for a few years, but I will definitely be coming back next year to try and knock Karen off.”
Gibson said the green played well which helped her settle in early in the tournament.
“The green was great, it plays similar to the one at Aradale which helps.”
Brennan knocked out Joan Curnow and Joy Seeary on the way to the final while Olive accounted for Lorna Neil and Dawn Blackman to qualify for the final.
Following the win, Brennan will now progress through to the regional final for the second time to face the champion of champions from North Central, Wimmera and North Wimmera divisions.
The regional final will be hosted by North Central with the matches set to be played at Charlton during the March long weekend.
It could be a busy weekend for Brennan at Charlton with a chance she will also contest the state singles title on a separate day.