BOWLS: Victoria defeats Ballarat East for chance in finals

VICTORIA has kept its slim chances of a berth in the Ballarat-Geelong premier division bowls finals series alive, beating Ballarat East on Saturday to keep in touch with the top four.

The away side went into the round 12 match three wins shy of fourth-placed Sebastopol, and put on a solid performance to defeat East 103-71 and retain its fifth placing on the ladder.

Victoria entered the half-time tea break 19 shots up and extended its lead via way of three winning rinks in the final ends of the match.

Selector Barry Clark is pleased that the side has finally found a winning formula in recent weeks, but laments that it took more than nine rounds to do so.

“It’s vital that you get your combinations settled early in the season and it has taken us a while to get the teams settled into the right positions because we have had at least five changes this season,” Clark said.

The win aside, Clark conceded that the window for a finals performance is almost shut, and that the club would have to play out the remainder of the season undefeated to have any chance of defending its reigning grand finalist position.

“I think the four is too settled at the moment, but if we won a miracle six matches in the final six rounds you never know,” Clark said.

“We have to set ourselves a benchmark for the rest of the season and four or five wins and a fifth placing would be good for us.”

Clark’s rink suffered a 17-18 loss to East skipper Luke Whitehead’s rink, but Victoria skippers Tony Wood, Jarrod Burt and Noel Verlinden all secured comfortable wins. 

Wood’s four defeated Chris McDonald’s four 25-19, Burt’s team thumped Travis Hedger’s rink 35-16 and Verlinden’s four secured a 26-18 win over Zac Stewart’s rink.

LADDER: GEELONG WEST 174 points + 205 shots, QUEENSCLIFF 162 + 209, OCEAN GROVE 150 + 201, SEBASTOPOL 147 + 113, Victoria 112 + 82, Bareena 99 + 115, Webbcona 79 - 143, Avenue 70 - 118, Highton 68 - 155, Ballarat East 19 - 509.

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