New Champions crowned in 20th Hammer QLD Senior Classic

By Matt Stevens
January 22, 2024

Western Australian Samantha Matthews and Tasmanian Ashley Riley emerged as the champions in the 20th edition of the Hammer Queensland Senior Classic, held in Caboolture over the weekend.

As the 2024 senior bowling season kicked off, these two skilled bowlers set the stage for an exciting year ahead. The event’s enduring popularity was evident this year as it marked its 20th anniversary with yet another sold-out competition, attracting 108 participants vying for the prestigious title.

If you haven’t already heard of Samantha Matthews, 2024 is likely to be the year you start hearing her name more frequently. Hailing from Western Australia, a league bowler at Superbowl Melville, Samantha’s stellar performance secured her the female division title.

Samantha took the lead during the first qualifying session and maintained her advantage over the experienced bowler, Sue Cassell, with consistently strong bowling throughout the weekend. With an impressive average score of 192.2, Samantha clinched the title with a total of 3,459 over 18 games, in a closely contested battle. Julie Harrison finished just 16 pins behind on 3,443, followed closely by Sue Cassell with 3,432 points.

Samantha’s rapid rise in the bowling world began with her top-four finish in the newly introduced NTS Trials last year, earning her a spot in the 50 and over National Training Squad for 2024. Now, as a national title holder and poised to enter senior division events in 2024, Samantha Matthews is a name to watch as the season unfolds.

Ashley Riley, who finished second in the rankings in 2023, wasted no time in making a strong start to the new year by securing the men’s Hammer QLD Senior Classic title in commanding fashion. Like Samantha, Ashley led all bowlers after the first qualifying session, narrowly edging out three-time event winner Tony Hamilton by just one pin.

As the second session of bowling commenced, Ashley was in top form, delivering four consecutive 200+ games before concluding with three more solid performances. With an impressive average score of 222.7 and a total of 4,009 over 18 games, Ashley comfortably secured the title. This marked a significant improvement with a 207-pin increase over his performance from the previous year, solidifying his position as a top contender for the rankings title in 2024.

Defending champion Andrew Drew also displayed remarkable skill, finishing in second place with 3,867, 142 pins behind the champion, while Tony Hamilton claimed third place with a score of 3,782.



George Frilingos โ€“ 300
Christine Clark – 265

After a hiatus from the sport, George Frilingos made a triumphant return to the lanes, competing in the senior division at the Hammer. In his debut, Frilingos made a statement with a perfect score of 300 in his very first game back. Finishing in equal 7th place, Frilingos is undoubtedly one to keep an eye on as the year unfolds.

The Senior Division is set to return in March with the John Sullivan Senior Australian Open scheduled to take place at Wyncity Keon Park in Victoria from March 16-17, 2024. This event has already sold out, with over 130 bowlers poised to compete for the title. It promises to be another exciting chapter in the 2024 Senior Rankings season. The new ranked event webpages will be published on later this week.