The finals of the annual prestigious President's Singles were played over the weekend at the Ramat Hasharon club, with Ramat Gan's Yair Lieberthal and Ra'anana's Beverley Polatinsky emerging as the respective winners of the men's and women's divisions. Lieberthal won 21-11 against Raymond Sher, while Polatinsky beat Haifa's Irit Grencel 21-15.
Lieberthal's win was an outstanding effort - his fourth successive President's Singles title - and he now has the unprecedented record of simultaneously holding the singles titles in the annual National Championships, the Masters, the Max Spitz competition and now the President's competition. His present reign is all the more remarkable considering his extended lay-off from the game during his army service and studies, but does confirm his promise shown when, at the age of 17, he was Israel's youngest Master bowler.
In the final he was always ahead of his international opponent and at the 18th end at 19-9 he lay two shots for game. Sher, however, was dead on with a trail of the jack for 19-11. But it was merely a temporary delay. The next end ended the game, unluckily though for Sher, who lay two shots only for Lieberthal to get a wick onto the jack for his own two count and 21-13 win.
In his semifinal Lieberthal had beaten Ra'anana's international player Zvika Hadar 21-13. Sher had beaten his clubmate Len Grobler 21-19 in his semifinal, finishing off the last head with a four-count after trailing 17-19. The veteran Grobler did exceptionally well to match his opponent, with the score even at 10-all after 10 ends. Sher then led 17-11, followed by the resisting Grobler with a 3, 2, 3 count to lead 19-17, only then to concede a last end four count for Sher's 21-19 win.
Beverly Polatinsky, recently selected for Israel's bowls team, is always a challenge for top rankers, and on her day's play of consistent accurate drawing won 21-15 against Haifa's international Irit Grencel.
Polatinsky's semifinal against Ramat Gan's Tami Kamzel was a much closer contest. Although up 18-14 Kamzel drew level for 20-all before Polatinsky drew the winning shot. Grencel had beaten Ramat Gan's Suzanna Wagensberg 21-13 in her semifinal, although trailing 8-12 at the 13th end. Grencel had previously accounted for Ruthie Gilor, Israel's ace singles player, in the preliminary round.
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