BALLARAT district teams have fought out a number of thrilling matches in the opening round of the 2013-2014 Ballarat-Geelong premier division bowls season.
Sebastopol was the biggest casualty of the round, losing to a much-improved Avenue 94 shots to 92 at home on Saturday after flying out to a 16-shot lead just before afternoon tea.
The match wasn’t decided until the very last end of the day, with Sebastopol skipper Rob Baker knocking an Avenue bowl closest to the jack after holding a one-shot lead over Avenue’s William Hawken’s four, making the final margin two shots.
Baker’s team ousted Hawken’s team 28-19, while Simon Cornock’s team epitomised Sebastopol’s early dominance by ousting Martin Shea’s team 25-18.
Led by boom-recruit Samantha Shannahan, Avenue began to drag itself back into the contest after afternoon tea, but it was not until late in the day that it finally hit the lead.
Shannahan’s four easily outpointed Sebastopol’s Ian Warner’s four 32-20, while Glenn Sargent’s team brought the visiting side home with a 25-19 victory over Andrew Myers’ team.
“The conditions were very difficult, but it was still a disappointing loss in a match we expected to win,” Baker said.
“Avenue was only ever in front near the end, but that’s all that matters, and we have to give them credit for getting themselves back in it and keeping the match so close.
“We’ve always been slow starters in regards to the overall season, and we hope that we can gain momentum throughout the year, as we usually do.”
Webbcona was also involved in a nailbiting finish, succumbing to Geelong West by one-shot, 96-95 at home, while Victoria defeated Bareena 93-82, with Tony Wood’s four scoring an emphatic 30-13 win over Ben Wilding’s team to set up the win.
In other matches Ballarat East was given a tough initiation into premier league bowls, failing to win a rink in the 112-69 thrashing at the hands of Queenscliff.
Reigning premier Ocean Grove capped off the round by dismissing Highton 111-77.
LADDER: QUEENSCLIFF 18 points, 162.32 percent; OCEAN GROVE 16, 144.16; VICTORIA 14, 113.41; AVENUE, 14, 102.17; Geelong West 14, 101.05; Sebastopol 14, 97.87; Webbcona 4, 98.96; Bareena 4, 88.17, Highton 2, 69.37; Ballarat East 0, 61.61.