The finals of the national pre-Pesach singles played off on the weekend at the Netanya club and it was Savyon's Cecil Bransky in the men's and Kiryat Ono's Ruthie Gilor in the women's who came through to take the titles. Bransky beat his clubmate Haviv Takin 21-19, while Gilor won 21-12 against Netanya's Laureen Harris.
For Bransky, it was a fighting rearguard action where he trailed 1-12 after nine ends and 13-19 after 20 ends. It was only in the penultimate 24th end that he went into the lead for the first time at 20-19, and followed to wrap up the game in the last end.
Takin set up the initial gap with immaculate drawing to the jack, but in the end it was Bransky's experience and skill, combined with his ability to remain focused under pressure, that won the day for him. Takin, on the other hand, found himself falling apart as his opponent closed in on him. The signs were ominous when at 19-13 ahead he lost six shots in three successive ends, failing under the pressure to maintain his earlier form.
Nevertheless, it was a welcome return for Takin to his form of earlier years. In 2001, he was among Israel's Master bowlers and a member of Israel's 2001 Maccabi team. On his way to the finals, he won his games against Denis Phillips, Zvika Hadar and Rami Oron.
For Bransky, it was a welcome win as in last year's tournament he lost the final to Ramat Gan's George Kaminsky. This year Kaminsky forfeited his very first round by misinterpreting his scheduled time of play. On his way to the final Bransky beat Ramat Gan's Boaz Marcus, 21-13, while in his semi-final he won 21-14 against Haifa's Arie Ben-Dor in a game with superb drawing and conversion shots by both players.
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