• Unlikely Premiers

      0 Not allowed! Not allowed!
      Divine Bowling , Unlikely Premiers and Stunning More Fancied Opponents.

      Our motley crew of journeymen and women ended up winning our Division 5 Sectional Final. Much to the surprise of our more fancied opponents…….and ourselves !

      We’d lost home games to middle order and unfancied sides in the weeks leading up to the finals. And we’d been beaten by both Brunswick [1] and Maribyrnong Park [2] on both occasions during the Home & Away season as they finished 1st and 2nd respectively on the ladder.

      We weren’t expected to give either side any major obstacles. Leading up to the finals they were probably more concerned about some of the middle order teams sneaking into the finals and stacking their teams with qualified higher division bowlers. We’re a small club that fields two pennant teams on Saturdays and we’ve struggled to fill our second side with a full complement on the odd Saturday this season.

      Saturday’s Semi Final saw us 23 shots down at Maribyrnong Park at the lunch break and morale was understandably subdued as the cut sandwiches were being passed around. Two rinks were on the receiving end of a spanking and I for one was in no mood for ‘bowls small talk’ about how the greens were running etc etc.

      Post lunch came The Turning. It was a quasi evangelical invigoration, a Lazarus like rising.
      Having a former Christian Brother as a lead on one of the rinks may have contributed to some of the divine bowling which saw us claw back what still appeared an insurmountable margin at ‘3 Quarter Time.’ The first of our rinks finished early and went down by 18 shots. Then our remaining 3 rinks got on with the job of pegging back the gap. Our rink contained our opponents to scoring just 3 shots in the final 8 ends. We were down 23- 8 on the 13th end prior to The Turning.

      Come the last end, I was beside myself coming to terms with a possible victory. I’d delivered my last bowl to rest just behind the kitty, giving us 2 shots. Then their skip failed to come into the head with his last two bowls. Our skip declared the head and we’d incongruously snatched an overall victory by 1 shot, 79 to 78
      Our opponents were shell shocked and dejected, digesting they’d lost to ‘us.’

      One of their skips was frantically cross checking and scrutinizing his score card in desperation, somehow hoping to pick up an unaccounted shot on the card somewhere.

      To no avail, the figures were correct and the club that doesn’t have the numbers to stack rinks came up Trumps. We’d won a final we weren’t expected to win.

      The following day saw us play off against Brunswick in the final. They’d finished on top of the ladder, well clear of the pack. On paper they were hot favourites to win.

      They’d brought along a rowdy cheer squad whose antics proved to be disconcerting to some of our bowlers during the game. ‘Let’s Go Brunswick, Come on Wickers’ was a constant piercing cry throughout the match. One of my team mates, Ivan Gaal tried to counter balance the partisan cries with a meekly emitted , ‘Come on Princess Hill.’ I gave him a surprised look and said, “That’s a High School, not a bowls club.”

      Raucous cheering aside, we managed to keep our composure for most of the afternoon in what turned out to be a tightly fought tussle on 3 rinks.

      What got us over the line comfortably in the end was the rink skipped by Peter Green [ affectionately known as The Professor, a retired academic with a methodical delivery and approach ].

      His 34 -12 scorecard consolidated the overall and the ‘journeymen’ celebrated another unexpected victory. Our Brunswick opponents didn’t appear to be as shell shocked as Maribyrnong Park on the previous day. But their dejected body language was palpable, it tacitly expressed, “ How did we loose to these guys !”

      Actually both teams were stunned after succumbing to our inspired resurgence.

      I liken Princess Park to a small country town bowls club which just happens to be located on the edge of the city. Our eclectic membership embraces this somewhat bizarre makeup and we enjoy bowling together. Despite occasional outbursts by our irrepressible Paul Soldatich who has been known to blurt out during a game, “these bloody selectors expect me to carry these division 7 standard bowlers week after week.”

      Yes, we tend to punch above our weight, as more fancied opponents have discovered this season.

      When our skip Paul saw the names on his rink he first reaction was, “Good, 3 White Wogs and Wendy.”

      His On Green antics this season had one opponent call him ‘John Revolta’ .
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