Smeaton defeats Avenue to win place in grand final

LITTLE country bowls club Smeaton is into one of the biggest matches in its history after winning a midweek pennant division one preliminary final yesterday. 

The Maroons will contest their first Ballarat District Bowls Division one grand final on Monday after defeating last year’s grand finalist Avenue 89-70 at Webbcona.

Smeaton scored in two rinks against the powerful Avenue outfit. Elizabeth Cosgrave’s team won 33-18 against Dot Cook and Helen Mizzeni’s four got up 33-19 against Marie Russell. 

While Avenue skipper Doreen Connell had a 33-23 victory against Rhonda Armstrong, it was not enough to prevent Smeaton’s date with destiny against reigning premier Central Wendouree A. 

“It is the first division one grand final the club has been in,” Cosgrave said. 

“The people within the club are aware and most of them are really excited about making the grand final.

“(Yesterday’s victory) is one of the biggest in the club’s history. There was the first time we went into division one, when we made the semi-final.”

Smeaton finished fourth at the completion of the division one home-and-away season.

It defeated Daylesford in its first semi-final before its clash with Avenue.

“The Daylesford game was a massive win for the club,” Cosgrave said. “Daylesford had been second all year. They lost in the last round and dropped to third and lost the double chance. We hadn’t beat them all year, so to beat them in three rinks was very good.

“Then against Avenue, we’d beaten them twice during the year but they ended the season in second, and quite a few points ahead of us, so we were underdogs there too.” 

While defeated by her opponent, Armstrong’s recovery from 18-0 down was a catalyst for Smeaton’s victory yesterday. 

With Cosgrave’s rink opening up in her side’s favour after being neck-and-neck at lunch, it was up to Mizzeni’s team to defeat Avenue’s strongest four skippered by Ballarat Geelong premier division player Russell.

Cosgrave said taking on Central Wendouree A in the midweek pennant division one grand final was another step up in difficulty.

“In a way, because we’re coming from fourth, we’ve got nothing to lose,” she said.

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