The whole season was set up for a premiership for Irish Dancing. Martin Tribe and Jerrod Thomson were having a dominant season. Out of 28 match-ups they had only lost twice (93%) - once on the first night to Ballroom (Mark Bageshawe and Joel Carpenter) and once on October 20 to 2nd placed Line Dancing (Michael Wilson and Roger Gore). Even the best of teams are allowed an occasional glitch. Jerrod Thomson especially had a good season finishing second on the rankings. And Martin Tribe was firing after coming home from the Qld vets with a horde of medals.
And then in the Semis, when they did not give Highland (Alan Bruhn, Linda Yap) even a look-in winning the first 3 matches negating the need to complete the last 2, it looked just like a formality to take the Grand Final.
Meanwhile Jazz (Paul Green and Jin Jang) who only had a 50% success rate in the normal season were quietly working behind the scenes to gain an upset win over Line Dancing (Michael Wilson and Roger Gore) who had a 75% success rate in the other semi.
But as anyone who has been around for a while in sport will tell you Grand Finals are another story and percentages and past results don’t mean too much. Irish Dancing did win the first match but from there it was downhill. The doubles was the vital match-up and when Martin and Jerrod won the first game convincingly 11-4 they were still predicted to go on to take the premiership. But Jazz hung in there and won a tense 5 setter 4-11, 12-10, 11-6, 3-11, 11-8.
Congratulations to Paul Green and Jin Jang for their magical win and well done to Jerrod Thomson and Martin Tribe who showed exemplary sportsmanship the whole way through.
The Division 2 Grand Final looked to be a nail biter. It was the cool calmness of Snickers (Jonas Campbell, Jim Kyle and Brian Cavanagh) up against the skill but also unpredictability of Chokito (Bruce Taylor, David Harkins and Akash Mehta).
All 3 members of Chokito are capable of winning all 3 singles matches when they are firing BUT, equally, you would not be surprised if any one of them only won one or even zero matches of the 3 matches on a night. Indeed this happened several times in the normal season – Bruce (2 times), David (6 times) and Akash (7 times).
Jonas Campbell won the first match for Snickers beating Akash in 3 (11-6,12-10, 11-8) and then when Jim Kyle took the first game against Chokito’s no 1, Bruce Taylor, it looked like being a Snickers’ night.
BUT something happened (I am not sure what) and one of the Snickers’ wheels developed a wobble in the 1st doubles when after leading 2-1 they lost the doubles in 5.
When Akash got his rhythm in his match-up with Jim Kyle winning the last game convincingly, the whole cart was in peril. And it was David Harkins upset and hard fought 5 set win over Jonas Campbell that caused the wheel to come completely off and the premiership was handed to Chokito.
C grade has been the success story in 2020. The club has gained a number of players showing great potential for the future. It has allowed an entry for junior players to comfortably start their careers. And it has allowed experienced players to continue their playing careers. And best of all, there was a good feeling about the whole set-up.
Leopards v Lynx
The very likeable Isaac Barwick got Lynx to a good start with a nail biting win over Kathy Oakley. But they were up against the hot favourite minor premiers and their only chance was to take the doubles. It was close but Leopards got there 11-2. 11-4, 9-11, 11-6. Thanks to Johan Jarvi for filling in for Kerrod Holzheimer. Johan is already proving to be a real asset in the club.
Tigers v Panthers
This contest could have gone either way. As I alluded to in the Preview Write-Up, the result did get down to the mother and son battle between new young-gun Archie close and his very consistent mum, Sue. Archie got there in a match which was closer than the scores indicated.
Heather Dunlevie had a great season. She was down on herself when she lost matches that she could have won in the finals. But she won both her doubles in the finals series and this gave Panthers the chance to take the premiership. Indeed, she came agonizingly close to closing the win herself for the Panthers. Leading 2 games to 1, Heather was passed at the post by one of the most experienced players in the club, Kathy Oakley. Final score to Kathy was 8-11, 11-9, 5-11, 11-7, 11-8. Out of interest points were 46 all.
So the premiership rested on the result of the last match. Craig Cowan for the Leopards and Archie Close for the Panthers. They were the 2 top ranked players in C grade. And it was the younger of the two, Arhie who showed more composure at the start. He got to a 2-1 lead. But Craig got his act together and won 11-7 in the 5th.
Well done to all players in the final series. I saw nothing but good sportsmanship and lots of effort.