Victoria keeps slim hopes alive with rousing victory

VICTORIA has kept its chances of finals contention faintly alive with a rousing 25-shot victory over top-four side Queenscliff in Ballarat-Geelong premier division bowls on Saturday.

The return of weekend pennant after the Christmas break saw the home side lengthen its unbeaten run to four matches in a row by way of a 101-76 victory.

Victoria led Queenscliff by just eight shots at half-time, but put together a strong final 50 ends to have three of its four rinks secure comfortable wins.

Barry Clark’s rink defeated Luke Wayth’s rink 26-18, Jarrod Burt’s four put in a dominant 20-shot win over Barry Crose, 34-14, while Noel Verlinden’s team defeated Barry Gladman’s four 28-12.

Queenscliff’s only winning rink came via way of Steve Sullivan’s four, which dominated Tony Wood’s team 32-13.

Now 13 rounds into the season, Victoria (fifth) has built up a comfortable buffer on the bottom five clubs with seven wins and six losses, two wins clear of Bareena and Webbcona, but trailing Sebastopol, Ocean Grove and Queenscliff by three wins plus points and percentage.

Selector Clark is ruing the fact that it took Victoria more than six rounds to find the right combinations, and believes the delay has probably put the club just out of finals reach, despite the proposition still being mathematically possible.

“The only chance we’ve really got is if one of the other clubs in the top four really slips up,” Clark said.

“If we’d played the way we are now earlier in the season I think we would have made it into the four.

“The teams that are above us are the teams that we have to beat – and we’re all about focusing on Ocean Grove next week.”

In other matches Sebastopol continued its run of dominance, beating Highton 128-87, Ocean Grove won a tight tussle over Avenue 90-82, Geelong West defeated Bareena 102-85 while Webbcona moved into seventh position after a 105-64 win over Ballarat East.

LADDER: GEELONG WEST 190 points + 22 shots, SEBASTOPOL 165 + 154, OCEAN GROVE 164 + 209, QUEENSCLIFF 164 + 184, Victoria 128 + 107, Bareena 101 + 98, Webbcona 97 - 102, Avenue 74 - 126, Highton 68 - 196, Ballarat East 19 - 550.

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