THE second-last bowl of the Ballarat Geelong premier division season saw Geelong region club Ocean Grove claim its first premiership at the highest level.
After a see-sawing battle at Queenscliff, Grove skipper Paul Cameron managed to prevent
Victoria’s Barry Clark from claiming four shots and pushing yesterday’s premier division grand final into extra ends.
While Barry Clark won the rink 24-15 for the Vics, the Ballarat division team fell two shots short, with Grove winning 84-82.
“It was super close. A really good game of bowls,” Grove skipper Matt Flapper said.
“We got the jump on them, led early and we were five in front at smoko.
“They hit the front by three after about the 70th end. After that it was back and forwards all match.”
The Victoria team, skippered by Shaun Clark, won what appeared beforehand to be the most important individual mini-battle of the afternoon, defeating Flapper 24-15.
It had been Flapper’s team that had bowled the Grovers to victory in the preliminary final two weeks ago.
But the other Ocean Grove teams responded to the Victoria challenge.
Mick West’s four won 34-18 against Jarrad Burt and co, while Craig Hodges’ team won the closest rink of the afternoon, up 20-14 against Wes Lennecke.
“I was pretty stoked about the fact my rink was defeated and the two other rinks were able to get us home,” Flapper admitted.
In addition to being Grove’s first title in the top Ballarat-Geelong competition, it was also Flapper’s first premier division premiership in the state of Victoria.
Flapper, formerly of Central Wendouree, was due to fly out to New Zealand to represent Australia in the Trans-Tasman series this morning.
Barry Clark said the Vics were disappointed but proud of their efforts in the grand final.
“We had our chances but we couldn’t take them,” he said.
“We did everything we could do to win and fell two shots short. Shaun played superbly against Matt Flapper.
“Craig Ford, Noel Verlinden and Tony Lang all played very well, as well.
“It was a great game, and the crowd was making a lot of noise. There was a fantastic atmosphere.”