Ian Smethurst is now officially one of the top 16 bowlers in Victoria, following a win in the Murray Bowls Division Men’s Champion of Champions final.
The Finley RS Club bowler, who lives in Tocumwal, put forward a dominant display of bowls at Cobram on Sunday to claim the honour.
Smethurst started the day with a semi final clash against Finley Bowling Club’s Gordon Haines.
It was the RS Club bowler who took an early commanding lead, with Smethurst maintaining his momentum in a 25 to 4 win to move into the final.
Having finished his semi final early and with the potential threat of rain on the way, the men started their final while that second ladies semi was still being played.
The final saw Smethurst come up against Barooga’s Gerald Rothe, with the latter making his way to the decider via forfeit.
Smethurst again started with a couple of multiple shot winning ends with Rothe unable to peg him back, with the final score 25 to 6.
‘‘The scores didn’t reflect the standard of the games played,’’ Smethurst said.
‘‘I managed to pick up multiple shots in parts of the games, but I never felt like I was in a comfortable spot to win.
‘‘It was quite a nice feeling to win and I look forward to representing the Murray Bowls Division in the next round.’’
Smethurst has had a storied career in lawn bowls, having played the sport for 30 years.
He started his bowls at Warragul Bowling Club in the West Gippsland Bowls Division, playing there for 13 years before joining fellow WGBD club Drouin.
During his 12 years at Drouin, Smethurst managed to claim three club championship wins.
While Sunday was Smethurst’s first MBD win, he had previously claimed victory in the WGBD Champion of Champions in 2012.
‘‘I spent 12 years at Drouin before I moved to Tocumwal,’’ he said.
‘‘I took a small break from bowls after being diagnosed with melanoma. I’ve gone into remission now and am glad to be back playing bowls.
‘‘I joined the Finley RS Club as my friend Warren Blanch was involved with the club.
‘‘I’ve enjoyed my time at the club so far, and have been lucky enough to win two club championships there.
‘‘I feel I was particularly lucky this year, only just beating Rod Brown in the club championship final by one shot.
‘‘I guess luck is a part of the game and luckily for me it was on my side.’’
Smethurst will now move on to the Central Goulburn Murray region final at Strathmerton held on Sunday, March 1.