LITTLE has separated the top three in Ballarat District Bowls division one all season. So fittingly, there was little to split Ballarat Memorial Sports and “sister club” Ballarat in Saturday’s preliminary final at Sebastopol.
It all came down to one shot, a drive by Ballarat’s Peter Hopkins, which failed to dislodge BMS’s one shot advantage, with the Diggers then claiming a 106-103 victory and a place in the division one grand final.
“It was tight all day, as you would expect,” BMS skipper Phil Clamp said.
“The top three or four sides that played off in the finals have been close all year, and we were lucky enough to get across the line on Saturday.
“We were 14 shots up with five ends to go and they made a last ditch lunge at us. They never give up.
“We were all watching the last end. Des Williams was holding two. Peter Hopkins drove and it didn’t come off. We ended up with one for that last end and ended up by three overall.”
BMS had three rink wins, with Des Williams’ team up 27-23 against Peter Hopkins, Phil Clamp’s crew home 28-19 against Andrew Dalgleish and Jeff Ryan and co winning a tight 32-29 contest against Wayne Fitzgerald.
For Ballarat, Paul Ashmore’s team got the better of Kevin McLean’s 32-19.
BMS now faces a Ballarat East side that is aiming for its 14th victory on the trot, in the grand final.
Clamp said Saturday’s close victory against Ballarat had been an ideal lead-in to the division one decider, and could be the counterpoint to any psychological edge East might enjoy after defeating the Diggers in last weekend’s semi final.
“Beforehand we were losing those close games, now we seem to be winning them,” Clamp said.
“I would say we’re absolutely good for the grand final. This (victory) has given us a bit of confidence.
“I’ve said all year they (East) are a very good side. They’ve won 13 in a row, and you don’t do that unless you are a very good side, but last time we played it came down to the last three ends. We’re in with a chance.”
The venue for next Sunday’s final will be announced by the BDBD during the week.