WODONGA’S Ashley Bates enhanced an already impressive record by winning the Ovens and Murray Bowling Association’s state singles championship on Sunday.
His victory at Wang- aratta against Haydn Smith (St James) took his tally to 11 group singles titles in 22 years.
He has won the group champion of champions singles four times.
The victory at the weekend took his number of state singles wins to seven.
There were almost 60 entries in the event this season with northern and southern sectional play.
Bates qualified for the final with a 25-17 success against Bill Davison (Corowa Services) at Wodonga last month.
Smith won his semi-final against Tony Williams (Benalla) a week before his meeting with Bates.
The Wangaratta greens were running superbly with a wide draw on one hand.
Smith scored a single shot on the first end, but Bates got a full count of four shots on the next end.
He then followed that with a single shot.
He managed three shots on the eighth end to establish a lead of five.
Smith produced some adept draw bowling to get seven shots on three ends to edge ahead 11-10.
It was then shot for shot over the following ends with Smith ahead 16 to 15 after 21 ends.
But Bates played well under pressure with five shots on the next four ends for a 20-16 advantage.
The margin was reduced to two shots by Smith on the 26th end.
Bates got one shot on the next end and then played a superb backhand trail for three shots to give him a 24-18 lead.
He sealed the title with a single shot on the 29th end.
Bates qualifies for the final 16 in the event with state play-offs at Bendigo in April.