Hilly and Dolores Linde won their respective annual veterans men's and women's singles titles in the finals played at Kiryat Ono over the weekend.
Neither of the two over 65-year-olds had an easy time, however, against their opponents stubborn resistance. Dolores - one of the country's Master bowlers - found herself tested to the full by Ramat Hasharon's Ruth Gorali.
Gorali latter gave no leeway, and in fact led 10-8 at the 10th end, and 14-11 after 15 ends. At 15-all after 19 ends, Linde finally broke through to lead 17-15 by beautifully running out Gorali's lying bowl, and with an added single in the next head, she moved into the lead at 18-15.
Gorali then came back with an accurate draw on a full-length head for 18-16 but in the next head, freshly inspired, Linde drew three of her bowls around the jack, which Gorali narrowly failed to counter, for the final 21-16 score in the 23-head game.
Spouse Hilly faced an even tougher test against his Netanya club-mate Selwyn Arenson. Linde had to creep back into the game after trailing 5-13 at the 10th end. But the 77-year-old showed that his bowling arm was as adept as his kicking boot had been 50 years earlier, when he was one of Zimbabwe's international soccer stars.
Linde went ahead for the first time in the game at the 22nd end when he collected a three to lead 18-16, and thereafter be 20-18 up in the 25th end. In the final 26th head, Linde lay shot for game about 20 inches from the jack and Arenson's last bowl ran past for Linde's 21-18 win.
For Linde this was a second veterans' title after he first won the event in 1999, while for Arenson it was a second successive disappointment following his loss in last year's final as well. Hille Linde was on the winning side in the novices' event played concurrently with the veterans' after his star pupil, Laureen Harris, came through to win the women's trophy.
The novices' competition is open to players of less than three years' experience. Harris, an ex-Zimbabwean playing at Netanya for only six months, showed excellent style and completely overshadowed an out-of-touch Rivka Zelinger from Ramat Gan, who was a semi-finalist last year. Harris's consistent accurate drawing to the jack gave her a well-deserved 21-5 win.
The men's final between Jerusalem's Yehuda Amitai and Kiryat Ono's Eli Naveh was a much closer affair. Naveh, in his second year of bowling, was a semi-finalist last year, while the 60-year old Amitai, in only his first year, is already the holder of the Jerusalem club singles title.
Naveh started well to lead 9-3 after seven ends, and 13-8 after 13 ends, before Amitai overtook him to lead 17-15 at the 19th end. This Naveh immediately countered, collecting a three to regain the lead at 18-17. In the next head, with Naveh lying three shots for game, Amitai had a perfect last-bowl draw on to the jack for peels at 18-all, leaving yet more drama for the last head which followed.
Naveh held two shots at the jack, which Amitai beautifully split apart for his own bowl to rest on the jack. But Naveh had a perfect trail of the jack with his last wood to his back bowls for a three-count and a well deserved 21-18 win.
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