KZN10.com website and social media wishes Maritzburg College Old Boy (Class of 2000) Brad Robinson everything of the best for the SA Masters Open Bowls Championships at Wingate Park Country Club in Pretoria today through Sunday.
KZN10.com caught up with Brad in Pretoria and asked this former Maritzburg College 2nd XI and UKZN Pietermaritzburg 1st XI cricketer (9 handicap golfer) to tell us more.
“Thanks Jono, yes I have fond memories of my 5 years at Maritzburg College.
“Jono, the SA Masters Open competition consists of the top 16 bowlers in the country, of whom 12 or so have represented the Proteas while the others are, like me, members of the SA Gold Squad.”
Brad (36) knows who will be super-keen to see him when he returns to his hometown – 18-month-old Mason Neil (Neil is the name of Brad’s well-known late dad) and baby brother the 8-week-old Cole.
Methinks Brad’s wife Rezelle will be as much relieved as she will be pleased to see her hubby after 4 days flying solo with these two pocket rockets.
I don’t follow bowls very closely, though I certainly recognise some of these stellar names in SA bowls:
#Gerry Baker, 5 times SA Masters winner
#Jason Evans, last year’s winner
#Billy Radloff (2018 winner)
#KZN’s Wayne Ritmuller (2017 and 2018 SA National Singles title winner)
#The other KZN bowler in the Masters is Wayne Roberts
Wayne Ritmuller beat Brad in the 2017 SA National Singles final.
The SA Singles and SA Masters Open are different competitions.
So, how does Brad see the Masters?
“Jono, the SA Masters Open is an intense, gruelling and hugely competitive event, but the camaraderie is always there.”
Divided into 2 sections of 8 players each, the bowlers each play 3 matches today, 3 more tomorrow, and then 1 on Sunday morning, before the winners of each section meet in the final at around lunchtime Sunday for the opportunity to be crowned the 2020 SA Masters Open champion.
“There is no bronze medal match for the section runners-up; they each get a bronze medal,” says Brad.
“The reasoning behind that is to ensure that all the focus is on the final.”
Too right! That is the way it should be in all sports. Surely there isn’t a sports lover on the planet who wants bronze medal matches anymore?
“This will be my 5th SA Masters Open and my 3rd in a row,” says Brad. “I played in 2 SA Masters 7 and 8 years ago, then wasn’t selected for 4 years.”
Pietermaritzburg-based Brad, who started playing competitive bowls at the age of 11, is a chartered accountant and senior manager at Price Waterhouse Coopers.
So what’s it like at Wingate Country Club in Pretoria, Brad?
“Jono, it’s a great setting here at Wingate; 6 greens catering for the 16 SA Masters Open bowlers, the same number in the equivalent ladies’ competition; then the SA Masters Under-30’s – that’s 12 bowlers in each of the male and female competitions – and finally the Over-60’s SA Masters Veterans, which is 12 men and 12 women, so it’s going to be pretty busy.”
#Apart from the KZN names squaring up in the SA Masters Open, there are also a number of KZN bowlers in the other competitions; such as Durban’s Bronwyn Webber in the SA Masters Open Ladies, Pietermaritzburg’s Sean Lightfoot and Kholwani “Kwa” Khanyile in the Under-30’s, and, of course, the KZN capital’s well-known Laylon Howard in the Over-60’s.
Scott Fraser – formerly of PMB, now Cape Town – is also in the U30’s showdown.
Best wishes to all.
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Follow Brad Robinson’s daily results here
(sections, names, times, opponents)
(links take you to each section and category)