Tumut’s brotherly bowling maestros, the Thomas teens, have come achingly close to being crowned the best junior pairs combination in the country after they were beaten by a solitary shot in the final at the Australian Under 18s bowls championships held at Launceston last week.
Representing ACT at the championships which ran from October 1-4, Daniel (17) and Bradley (16) Thomas combined to cruise through the preliminary stages of the pairs to earn a gold-medal berth against highly-rated Queensland pair Rohan Wilson and Shaun Ingham.
With the match evenly poised on the penultimate end, the Tumut pair held four shots, only to see Ingham steal the end with a magical bowl, defying a strong wind to pick up the all-important shot, which proved the difference in the end.
The Thomas brothers had to be content with silver, and acknowledged they had been beaten by a “cracking” bowl from Ingham.
“I thought we had it in the bag,” said father David, who travelled down with his two sons to the championships.
“But Shaun’s bowl was brilliant. Under pressure, with no margin for error, and with a strong wind, he produced the goods.”
Apart from playing together in the pairs, Daniel and Bradley also represented the ACT separately in the singles (Bradley) and Fours (Daniel) at the titles.
Bradley’s outstanding performances in his two disciplines saw him picked in the 10-man Australian squad.
It’s the second year he’s made the national team, which will be trimmed to five next January, prior to a test series against New Zealand.
Meanwhile, Daniel, who is currently studying for his HSC and is considering joining the army, wasn’t considered due to his age.
But he did pick up a gold medal, playing in the fours.
Combining with Michael McQueen, Flynn O’Shaughnessy and Trent Britton, Bradley’s team went through the fours undefeated, culminating with a comprehensive 17-8 win over home-town team Tasmania in the final, to claim gold.
Daniel described the tournament as a “wonderful experience”.
“It was hard, the competition was of a high-standard, but it was great fun,” Daniel said.
“To win a gold medal in the fours, and then also a silver with my brother, is something I’ll never forget.”
Bradley, rated the number one bowler in the ACT team, was somewhat unlucky not get the chance to play for a medal in the singles.
He opened the championships with a 21-17 win over his Northern Territory opponent, but then went down 21-20 to the South Australian rep, before hitting back to outgun Western Australian David Downey 21-18.
Under the scoring system of the championships, Downey progressed through to the medal stage, while Bradley was unlucky to exit.
Downey made the most of his opportunity, going on to be crowned national champion, while Bradley had to be content with a 21-17 win in the play-off for fifth.