Long time Central Division member Steve Nelson is the newest member of the Hall of Fame. He was recognized both for his accomplishments on the greens and his contributions to US and Central Division Bowls as a division office and councilor. In 2018 Steve managed Team USA to its first overall victory in the North American Challenge. Oh yes, he was also the Central Division webmaster for a number of years. On the greens he is a two time US National Champion and competed at a high level in several international events. In 2011 he was ranked #22 in the world by World Bowls after a fifth place finish in the Champion of Champions tournament. Steve is now competing in the Southeast Division and bedeviling his opponents there instead of beating up on his old Central Division buddies. Congratulations Steve! (PS: We love you, but don’t hurry back.)
US NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS
Rob Behncke found himself in a four way playoff for first place after the round robin in the singles event at the beautiful Golden Gate Park venue in San Francisco. All the Central Division players had to cope with the varying playing and weather conditions, but on the day of the playoffs the temperature dropped to somewhere in the high 60’s after it being in the 90’s a day or so before. A cold breeze made it even harder on the spectators… hmm… maybe on the players as well. Anyhow, Rob could not prevail against the Northwest’s Chris Davis who, in turn, could not prevail against the eventual champion Charlie Herbert. The Central Division team was: Anna Witt & Rebecca Nguyen – pairs , Olia Behncke – singles, Jim Grzybowski & Leif Andresen -pairs, and Rob Behncke – singles.
Bob Schneider and Hall-of-Famer Joe Zinna, both Central Division members, teamed up with Frank Souza and Phil Luth to capture first place in the third flight of the US Open. Winning any flight at the Open is a great accomplishment. Other Central members who competed on the immaculate Arizona greens were Jim Grzybowski, Randy Grzybowski, Leif Andresen, and Anna Witt.
CENTRAL OPEN PAIRS
The US Lawnbowling Hall of Fame’s newest member shows that he still has what it takes. Joe Zinna teamed up with Bob Schneider to win the Central Division Pairs. Giving Bob and Joe a close run for the title was the team of Max Cavender and Jim Cavender. Joe Zinna was awarded his Hall of Fame plaque in a brief ceremony at lunchtime for which Central Division president Anna Witt provided sub sandwiches and three different kinds of cake! Oh yes, she also gave Joe the award.
CENTRAL OPEN SINGLES
Two very close games decided the singles contest. Max Cavender and Bob Schneider were both undefeated going into the last 18 point game. Max was up 17 to 16 when a close measure went against him to tie the game at 17. On the last end, Max drew close to the jack, but Bob then drew it dead. Max’s last bowl went a little bit wide giving the win to Bob. Leif Andresen outlasted Rob Behncke to win by two shots to finish in third place.
Grzybowski and Andresen Qualify in Pairs
Going into the final game of the round robin, the one loss team of Jim Grzybowski and Leif Andresen were up against the undefeated team of Bob Schneider and Jim Cavender. A close game resulted in a win for Jim G. and Leif to finish in a tie for first. In the playoff the following morning Grzybowski and Andresen were able to win their second straight game against Schneider and Cavender, who are both multiple time national champions. Carl Landgren and Mark Mathwig finished in third place.
Anna Witt and Rebecca Nguyen will be the women’s representatives at the National Championships. Kudos to Bob Schneider and his greenskeeping crew for the great condition of the greens which were running in the 13-14 second range.
Behnckes Will Be Packing for San Francisco in Singles
Rob Behncke withstood a determined challenge from the veteran Carl Landgren to eke out a victory in the men’s singles. Carl won the closely contested first game, but was unable to maintain his momentum in the following two games. Rob was able to prevail in the double elimination playoff. With the temperature pushing 90 degrees, both players seemed to wear down towards the end of the three game final. Rob and Carl also had to deal with many pesky fly(er)s. An Air Show was going on featuring the USAF Thunderbirds. Despite the “Thunderous” noise, both players somehow managed to keep their focus and play great bowls.
Along with Rob, Olia Behncke will be playing in the women’s singles. They follow in the footsteps of other married Central Division entrants such as Edie and Bert McWilliams, Dora and John Stewart, and Lois and Ken Degenhardt. Good luck to all.
Max Cavender and his dad Jim cruised through the competition to win the Potlicker Cup on its 20th anniversary. This is the first win for both. Max did his usual masterful job as skip while Jim played steady lead bowls and provided some fatherly lawn bowling wisdom to his son Max. Jim was around for the original event 20 years ago (by way of explaining the headline),
The Cavenders were undefeated going into the last game against the one loss team of Bob Schneider and Joe Zinna. Behind on points going into the game, Bob and Joe needed to win by eight shots to take the title. Max and Jim won to remain undefeated and close out the tournament. Bob and Joe’s loss dropped them into third place behind the one loss team of Leif Andresen and Carl Landgren.
After a long hard winter we are finally gearing up for a new Lawn Bowls season, so its time to put away the surfboards. Here is the 2019 schedule. Entry forms will be found by clicking the individual event.
Bob Schneider and Anna Witt did the Central Division proud over the winter in international tournaments. Bob Schneider played in the World Championship Singles in March in Warilla Australia. This event was played on an extremely fast artificial surface, something we in the US do not often encounter. In the qualifying round, Bob had several wins to finish in the middle of his flight. missing out on the finals. One of his losses was in an epic battle against the overall Silver Medal winner. Set one of their game ended in a tie. but in set two, Bob came up a couple of shots short. Nevertheless, he had a great experience and did a fine job representing the USA.
Anna Witt, pictured at the top right, played Vice Skip for team USA at Tiger Bowls in China. Due to bad weather, the tournament organizer was forced to change the normal fours format and set up three separate events. The games were played at a number of different venues, sometimes changing from outdoors to indoors making it difficult to maintain any consistency. The teams in each event were divided into two flights with playoffs for the top two in each flight. Team USA struggled on the artificial carpets and didn’t make the finals in events one and three. Event two was a different story, as Anna describes in here own words:
“Tournament 2 (One Belt One Road Zhuhai) was in Hong Kong and Zhuhai. The women were now 10 teams and again split into 2 pools. We played round robin within our pool We played outdoors on the grass at one of the previously closed clubs in Hong Kong and dominated on day #1. We then traveled to Zhuhai, where the green is a 2-rink indoor carpet on the top floor of a hotel. All teams played the last game of the round robin at Zhuhai. Again, the top 2 teams in each pool advanced, which included us this time. We lost to South Africa in the semifinals.”
Well done ladies.
Joe Zinna was recently recognized for his outstanding lawn bowls career by being elected to the US Bowls Hall of Fame. Joe has been a force in Central and national tournaments for almost forty years. He has won many division championships and has appeared in multiple National Championships where he has won gold three times. He also represented the US in four North American Challenges and skipped for Team USA in the Atlantic Games in Scotland.
Joe’s other contributions to the game of bowls include two terms as the Central Division president along with a stint as the division head umpire. He was also the president, vice president, and treasurer of the Rockford Lawnbowling Club. Currently he is serving as a selector for Team USA. Even though Joe has significantly cut back on his playing time over the last several years, if you meet him on the greens today do not anticipate having a happy time of it.