JUST three points separate the top three positions on the Ballarat District Bowls division one ladder after Ballarat Memorial Sports claimed 16 points with a 111-92 victory over previous ladder leader Ballarat on Saturday.
In a division one round remarkable for the number of close matches, BMS scored in three rinks on its own synthetic green, to make the run for the finals a race of three at the top of the table.
However Ballarat East is king of the hill for this week with a 12 shot, 95-83 win over Buninyong.
The two rounds remaining before finals, and the top three scrambling for two available double chances, made Saturday’s victory vital for the Diggers.
“What it’s done is, provided we win next week, is made sure we have secured the double chance,” BMS skipper Des Williams said. “Ballarat and Ballarat East play each other in the final game.
“We have Learmonth at Learmonth next week so it is a very tough game. If we hadn’t won this round, though, it would have meant saying goodbye to the double chance.
“We’ve played the other two twice and gone one-all with each of them so it’s very even.”
BMS had two comfortable rink wins with Phil Clamp’s team winning 36-22 against Wayne Fitzgerald’s, and Kevin McLean’s crew up 35-14 against Andrew Dalgleish.
Jeff Ryan’s rink had a battle but came good to defeat Paul Ashmore’s four 22-19. For Ballarat, Peter Hopkins and co defeated Williams 37-18.
“It was a good overall team effort against a quality side,” Williams said. “Even though my rink went down we held our own in the second half.”
Mt Xavier kept Learmonth at bay in the battle for fourth, defeating City Oval by a solitary point. The X-men had rink wins to skippers Aaron Emonson (24-20 against Mitch Walton), Mick Storey (22-20 against David Flintoff) and Beau Adams (28-16 against Callum Mann). The Hawks four skippered by Wayne Roberts made it a nail-biter, though, trouncing John Maher’s team 35-18.
Learmonth stayed in the hunt with a 97-87 away victory at Victoria. Mick Casey’s team set the standard for the Lakers, up 37-13 against Bob Whitcher, while David Pike’s team won 22-21 against Dante Prenc’s. The Vics scored four points through Alan Callow’s crew (up 24-22 against Gordon Powell) and Wayne Saunders (up 29-16 against Bill Shillito).
Ballarat East scored 16 points at Buninyong with skips Peter Wilson (29-19), Chris McDonald (23-21) and Peter Dean (23-18) all scoring. Brian Wilcock claimed two points for Buninyong (25-20).
Webbcona and Smeaton also played out a tight match, with the Webbcona triumphing 95-90.
DIVISION ONE LADDER: BALLARAT EAST 11 wins, 194 points, BMS 11 wins, 193 points, BALLARAT 11 wins, 191 points; MT XAVIER 11 wins, 178 points; Learmonth nine wins, 162 points; Buninyong six wins, 120 points; City Oval six wins, 119 points; Webbcona five wins, 108 points; Smeaton six wins, 105 points; Victoria two wins, 70 points.