Murray Steamers break Bowls Premier League drought

By Andrew Johnston

THE Murray Steamers have claimed their second Bowls Premier League title in a heart-stopper.

In front of an adoring crowd at the Moama Bowling Club, the Steamers claimed the 11th BPL title in a tiebreaker against the Melbourne Roys.

With the title on the line, it was hometown star Michael Walker who was the hero, driving the jack into the ditch to give the Steamers a one-shot victory.

For Walker, it was his biggest moment in the sport.

"It's the pinnacle of my career,” he said.

"To achieve this for my club of close to 20 years, it’s a real honour.

"It was a great team to be a part of, everyone played a part in us having success through the week.”

Moama Bowling Club’s Apollo Birch said it was one of his best days in the sport.

"It was like a fairy tale,” he said.

"To have Michael there to drain the jack in the ditch on the last end was huge.

"To then have Jo Edwards, who had been hurt on day two, drive Melbourne's bowl out to secure the game, we couldn't have asked for anything more.”

The Steamers finished the group stage on top, edging out the Sydney Lions by two net set points - though a final round tiebreaker could have changed everything.

"It's the closest event the BPL has seen,” he said.

"We claimed a tie-breaker in round 14 to finish first. If we didn't win the tiebreaker, we might have missed finals altogether.

"To claim such a close competition was a great outcome for our club.”

Birch said winning a second title was a testament to the quality of the Steamers’ team.

"I think, even apart from winning at home, winning with so many class players in the competition is huge,” he said.

"We've been incredibly consistent in the competition - only Sydney have won more titles than us - so to be two-time champions is great for our team.”

Birch said the event had also been a great success for the Moama Bowling Club.

"The event ran super smoothly,” he said.

"We had excellent crowd numbers, the television product looked fantastic as well. Everything from our perspective was a massive success. And to have a final day with so much excitement was perfect.”